Losing a loved one is never easy. It’s a challenging time filled with intense emotions – emotions that get magnified when decisions have to be made without having pertinent information on hand. That’s why we encourage our clients to get organized and plan ahead of time to help ease the burden on the loved ones they leave behind.
5 Important Tasks to Prepare for End of Life
End-of-Life Planning Series – Part I
Here’s a good starting place to prepare for end of life. Remember, your financial advisor and team of professionals, such as attorneys and CPAs, can give you the guidance needed to effectively create a plan that is unique to you and your wishes.
1. Gather Account Information
List your income sources, assets and liabilities, including bank accounts, credit cards and subscription-based services (such as streaming services or meal deliveries). Include the name and types of accounts, account numbers, and the information on who to contact upon your passing. Don’t forget to note any important details, such as indicating employer-provided accounts (e.g., life insurance and annuities, 401(k), etc.).
2. List Your Liabilities & Debts
Note any liabilities or debts that are attached to your name, especially if surviving relatives must assume the debt. Be sure to list the amount owed, to whom the debt is payable and when payment should be received. Examples include mortgage and outstanding loans. Since many debts are claimed against your estate rather than your survivors, it is important to note your survivor’s responsibility, especially since there may be a limited time to file a claim.
3. Note Your Important Contacts
Your loved ones may have a long list of people to contact after your death, both personally and professionally. Save them a lot of time and energy by maintaining lists of important people and their contact information. Some examples of professionals that will need to be informed of your passing include doctors, financial advisors, and attorneys.
4. Determine What Happens with Storage
Over time you may have built up a fair share of items that have been stored either in a safe, safety deposit box, or storage unit. Document the type of storage, location of keys and/or access instructions, as well as a general list of the items stored. If you have already shared this information with other individuals, reevaluate this arrangement from time to time. Life and circumstances change. You would not want a situation where someone out of state holds an important key to your safe or home.
5. List Your Logins
In a world where technology is an integral part of our lives, having login credentials can save your loved ones a big headache. Stored in a secure place, note passwords for your computer, mobile phone, email and social media, and any other technology-based account that will be important for your survivors to access.
While it may be overwhelming to think about preparing for your end of life, it will make a tremendous difference for those you love. The truth is, none of us know how much longer we will live and it’s never too early to plan ahead. Without a doubt it will be a difficult and trying time for them, but by addressing and revisiting these five steps from time to time, you will gift your loved ones with peace of mind – something that is truly priceless.
Be on the lookout for the next part of our End-of-Life Planning Series where we will cover important documents you should prepare and gather in advance. In the meantime, if you are looking for further guidance on how to handle end-of-life planning, Stonemark Wealth Management is experienced in helping people navigate through the necessary choices and actions to prepare for the road ahead.