Along with the documents in your estate plan that have to be drafted with certain language and executed with certain formalities, such as your Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Trust, etc., there are letters you can write, and lists you can make to facilitate matters in the event of your incapacity or death. These can be especially important if one spouse is accustomed to the other spouse managing most of the household tasks. Your letters or lists can include:
- location of important legal documents and insurance policies;
- names and addresses of doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other advisers;
- instructions for locating accounts, account numbers and passwords;
- an inventory of personal belongings, and appraisals of items of value;
- instructions on how to maintain the house, or operate the furnace, boiler, etc.
- funeral and burial wishes;
- instructions for how you would like certain items of personal property, such as furniture, jewelry or other household goods distributed in the event of you death;
- an explanation of certain steps you may have taken in distributing your estate;
- your wishes for how you would like your children or loved ones to remember you, and any last messages you have for them.
These are the practical, mundane, but necessary things that people need to know about when you are no longer around (or not currently able) to tell them. If you are caring for an aging parent or spouse, you should sit with them and gather this information. And you don't even need an attorney to do this, so you have no excuses!