What would happen if you were to became seriously ill and someone needed to handle your estate? Would they know how to access your finances and manage your affairs? Would they know how to access your insurance information and other legal documentation, or would it become a scavenger hunt?
With an organized estate plan, this doesn't have to be the case. The underlying question is, though, is there a way to simplify the process? The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"
Think about the who, what, and where questions
The "Who" is usually the individual assigned as the executor or designated with a power of attorney. They will legally act on your behalf when you are no longer able to make decisions or manage your affairs. Once you have decided who this is going to be, discuss this decision with them and ensure that they are comfortable with this role.
The "What" is all the critical information regarding your financial life, insurance documentation and other matters related to your estate. Your living will, powers of attorney, guardianship, and so on all need to be addressed in this category, along with any other legal documents.
The "Where" is figuring out where all of this information is going to be stored. The next question is determining if this storage area is easily found. If not, you should find an area to keep these items that is easily accessible by family members or named executors, should you become incapacitated.
Should you get an attorney involved?
Because the estate planning process can easily become filled with complex matters, it's always a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer. They'll be able to help you organize your documentation, handle financial matters and determine who to best assign roles to if you become overwhelmed.
The Law Offices of George Castrataro, P.A. have attorneys experienced in these matters who are ready to help individuals and families simplify the estate planning process.