Easter Egg Hunts are a delight for kids, searching high and low for those candy-filled eggs. Setting up these scavenger hunts for your children is a beautiful pastime. However, what parents should want to avoid are these types of scavenger hunts later in life, making their children search everywhere for estate planning documents during a time of grief.
Here are some tips on how to avoid a "hunt" for important documentation and take some of the strain out of a difficult situation.
Hard Copy Storage
Don't make your children or loved ones sift through filing cabinets, computers, and drawers looking for critical information and estate planning documents. Instead, keep hard copies of your documentation, like your will, trust papers, insurance policies, medical directives, and Power of Attorney documents, together in a safe place and make sure your loved ones know where to find them. Storage suggestions:
- A safe in your home that is both fireproof and waterproof. Inform your loved ones of the key's location or lock combination.
- A safe deposit box at the bank. If you go this route, you should make a trusted person a co-owner of the box or put their name in your Revocable Living Trust so they can access it without a court order.
- At your Estate Planning Attorney's office. A benefit of having a professional prepare your estate plan is that they will keep your documents on file. Give your loved ones your attorney's contact information.
Another easy way for your loved ones to access your important information is to store it digitally. Our office provides our clients with a digital copy of their documents. Storage suggestions:
- Upload your documents to the cloud through services such as DropBox or Google Drive, and give your loved ones access.
- Download your digital documents onto a thumb drive or external hard drive and keep them in a safe place like you should with your hard copies. If you encrypt these devices, let your loved ones know the password.
Asset Tracking Sheet
Our office takes estate plan organization a step further by providing our clients with an asset tracking sheet. It neatly lists all our client's assets and how they are coordinated with their overall estate plan in one easy spreadsheet. This sheet initially acts as a roadmap to assist our clients with changing over their assets or beneficiaries. Then in the future, it is meant to help their loved ones quickly and easily find the information they need. Store this with the digital and hard copies of your estate plan.
Following these tips will ensure that your documents are kept safe and easily accessible when they are needed. Your loved ones will appreciate the time you take today to ensure they are less burdened in the future. to ensure everything with you and your business remains up to date. Depending on where you are in your life journey (and the life of your business), there are certain Estate Planning elements you should be aware of and questions you should ask yourself along the way.