You’ve gotten rid of one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when developing your estate plan: choosing your executor. What steps can you take now to make it easier for your executor to administer your estate?
Start by thinking about the duties of your executor and what steps you can take ahead of time to make it easier to perform those duties.
First, your executor will need to locate your original will. If you keep this document with your attorney, make sure your executor has their contact information. If you keep your original will at home, be sure to keep it in a safe place and in a place where your executor has access.
Your executor will likely be the person responsible for arranging your funeral, cremation, or burial. If you have any particular preferences in this area, it is best to express them in writing. Making your wishes clear can remove a particularly difficult decision from your executor’s list.
One of the most time-consuming tasks of an executor is to identify, collect, and determine the value of your assets at the time of your death. Whether you have a multitude of assets or just a few, keeping a well-organized and up-to-date list can help your liquidator quickly identify them and determine their value. Here is some simple information that will be helpful to your executor:
• Financial institution name and account number for any financial account;
- Vehicle title information;
- Insurance policy numbers;
- real estate information; and
- Contact information for any financial services professionals you have worked with.
Your executor should also take care of your debts, expenses and taxes, if any. Keeping an up-to-date list can prepare your executor to ensure they will be taken care of quickly after your death and can prevent surprises from arising later.
Finally, once the assets have been collected and the debts and expenses paid, the executor must distribute the remainder of your estate among your heirs. Keeping an up-to-date contact list of your beneficiaries is essential.
Organizing the above information will be of great help to your executor, but it will only be useful if they can access it when you die. Discuss with them ahead of time how they can gain access to your residence upon your death and where you store this vital information.