If you have taken the first step of estate planning and made a will, you and your family are now more prepared for the end of your life than most people are. However, there are additional steps you can take that will add to your estate plan in ways that could simplify and harmonize the lives of your loved ones after you pass away.
Adding detail to your estate plan helps the people you care about navigate the days, weeks, and years following your loss. You don’t even have to address all of the details at once. You could tackle one type of detail now, another in a few weeks or months, and so on. Each step you take to provide additional information about what to do to resolve matters associated with your life and your death is an act of love that is sure to be appreciated.
When a person dies, those who have survived them are left to deal with both the pain of their loss and the practical details of planning the deceased person’s funeral and settling their estate. Instructions left by the person who has died serve a vital role in providing guidance amidst the grief, which can be an immense source of peace and comfort. Things that may seem elementary to you right now, like a schedule of the daily tasks associated with caring for your pets along with a statement about who will be responsible for their care in the event of your death, can provide grieving family members and friends with clear action steps to take after you pass away.
To get started with adding detail to your estate plan, think about what is important to you, from your preference of burial or cremation to how your taxes and bills will be paid, and everything in between. Then, with the help of your estate planning attorney, decide which of those things can be addressed by conversations or written correspondence with people during your lifetime and which should be added to your will by codicil, addressed by beneficiary designations, taken care of by a trust, or dealt with in some other fashion.
The following few ideas can get you started, in addition to the pet care, bills, funeral plans and taxes mentioned above. Specific bequests of sentimental or valuable items like pieces of jewelry or family heirlooms can prevent family members from fighting over those items. Directions for caring for and maintaining your home can help your relatives keep it safe, secure, and in good repair until it can be disposed of as directed in your will. Lists of where all of your financial accounts are located are helpful in tracking down all of your assets. Likewise, lists of digital accounts like email and social media can help your loved ones access your information and protect your identity.
If you would like to talk with an estate planning attorney about adding details to your estate plan, schedule an initial consultation with Wichita estate planning attorney J. Joseph Weber. Please call our office at (316) 265-7802, or contact us through our website.