In order to protect your loved ones and ensure that your intentions are clear and carried out, you must do some more planning now, and you’ll need to share your thoughts with your family.
The Arkansas City Traveler’s article, “Planning your estate,” includes some very worthwhile moves to consider:
Make a list of your assets and debts. Your family needs to have an accurate accounting of your assets and debts. Share this information with them.
Sign a durable power of attorney. Entrust a good friend or family member with the authority of durable power of attorney so that he or she can pay your bills and make financial choices on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
Designate an executor. The executor is the individual that you select to carry out your wishes in your will.
Keep your will up-to-date. Events in your life may have changed, so examine your will with your estate planning attorney to ensure it reflects your current situation and wishes.
Consider a living trust. A will may not cover all of your estate-planning needs. You might want to look at a living trust. A trust can give you flexibility in distributing your assets and can help you avoid probate. In order to create a trust or other estate-planning documents, work with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.
Review your beneficiary designations. These designations on your financial accounts, like your 401(k), IRA, retirement plan, and insurance policies will trump the directions you put in your will, so keep them updated.
Share where your legal documents are located. Your family needs to know where you keep documents. These include your birth certificate, will, and living trust.
Communication. You need to tell your family and heirs about your final wishes. Communication about these sensitive topics is not always easy, but doing so will help your family after you have passed.
Work with an estate planning attorney to make sure all of the bases are covered.
Reference: Arkansas City Traveler (November 14, 2015) “Planning your estate”