A lot of people look at estate planning as the act of stating your wishes in writing regarding the way that you want your monetary assets to be transferred after you die. This is certainly at the core of the matter, but it is also important to think about the practical side.
If you use a will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer, you would name an executor in the document to serve as the administrator. Simply stating the way that you want the pie to be cut up is great.
But where are the ingredients located, and how is the executor going to find them?
To help the executor along, you could include a letter of last instruction among your estate planning documents.
The best way to look at this is to keep it simple. There is someone that needs to complete these tasks on your behalf, and you have to ask yourself what they need to know to do the job.
Who, What, Where, and How
The above being stated, we can share some basic guidelines. First, if you want certain people to know that you have passed away, you can name them in the letter. This can be old friends, former coworkers, distant family members, and anyone else that comes to mind.
Of course, you should provide contact information if it is available to you, because the objective is to give the executor the ability to efficiently administer the estate.
In addition to the personal contacts, the executor will have to get in touch with professionals that have a need to know. These could include a Social Security representative, bankers, brokers, real estate people, insurance agents, your attorney, accountant, etc.
Since the executor will be inventorying all of your assets to prepare them for distribution to the heirs, you should provide account numbers and access information that is relevant. A lot of people conduct most of their business online, so user names and passwords can enter the picture here.
While we are on the subject of the digital universe, if you are like most people, you have social media accounts. You can inform your executor with regard to the way that you want them to be dealt with after your passing.
Facebook allows for the memorialization of accounts. If you go this route, your Facebook page would remain intact, but no one would be able to update it from the inside out. However, your existing friends would be able to make comments and post pictures.
You can address your final arrangements in your letter of last instructions, and this would be a practical necessity if you have a prepaid burial plot and/or funeral arrangement. Even if you don’t, you can record your choices regarding the venue and the nature of the service, the way that you want to be put to rest, and other details.
Attend a Special Event!
Attorney Mark Eghrari shares very useful knowledge at the special events that we conduct from time to time. You can learn a great deal if you attend one of these sessions, and the time investment will yield tangible dividends.
This is a great opportunity to build on your knowledge as you make a direct connection with an attorney that can help you build and preserve your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones.
You can see the dates if you head over to our special events page, and if you decide to join us, follow the simple instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We have provided some basic food for thought about the letter of final instruction in this brief blog post. If you would like to put a comprehensive plan in place that includes a detailed estate administration strategy, we would be more than glad to provide the necessary assistance.
Plus, if you have an existing estate plan that needs to be adjusted, or if it is not comprehensive in nature, we can gain an understanding of the situation and help you make adjustments.
You can schedule a consultation at our Smithtown, NY estate planning office if you give us a call at 631-265-0599. If you would prefer to reach out electronically, simply send us a message through our contact page and we will get back in touch with you promptly.