When doing your estate planning, remember that things are going to feel rather chaotic for your heirs. They have to try to sort everything out without your help. Things that feel easy to you, that you don’t think twice about, can be serious hurdles for them.
For example, you do your banking online. You have the app on your phone, and it has your password and username saved. It’s never been easier to access your money.
Your heirs, though, can’t get into your phone. They don’t know the password, the username, the account number or any other important information. If you didn’t pass it down, they’re out of luck.
That’s why many people suggest putting a list of accounts and related data together when doing your estate planning. Things that could be included are:
- 401(k) accounts
- Roth IRAs
- Traditional IRAs
- Bank accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Safe-deposit boxes
- Pension plans
- Life insurance policies
- Annuity contracts
- Savings bonds
To a degree, some of these may take care of themselves. For instance, as long as you properly named a beneficiary on the life insurance policy, it will pay out automatically upon your passing. Your heirs are not going to be denied that money just because they didn’t have the passwords. You could also set it up to pay out to a trust and then get distributed from there.
However, the key here is just to think about what your heirs are going through after your death. Make sure you know all of the options you have to make this process as successful as you can for them, allowing your wishes to be carried out.
Source: Money, “24 Essential Pieces of Estate Planning Paperwork You Need,” Jill Schlesinger, accessed Nov. 10, 2017