What do I do to plan the estate for my family's future?

Think for a few moments about what would happen if you suddenly became incapacitated or died. Would your spouse or family know what to do? Would they know where to find important records, assets and insurance documents? Would they be able to access (or even know about) online accounts or files on your computer? Would they know whom to ask if they need help? Putting the effort in now to establish a formal document inventory can alleviate unnecessary anxiety and turmoil in the future.

The Key Takeaways

What Information Would They Need?

There is a large volume of documents and information that your family would need during a calamitous event such as incapacitation (even temporary) or death. This basic list will help you start thinking of the critical information you would want your family to have.

Also, many of your records are probably on a computer or stored online. If you scan documents or receive financial statements electronically, someone else may not even know they exist. If you use a computer accounting program such as Quicken, QuickBooks or Mint, those records would be on your computer. Family photos may be stored digitally or online. Much of this information is password protected.

What You Need to Know:

Your document inventory requires a methodical listing of both hard copy and digital forms. While the effort will be more challenging at the start, the maintenance of the inventory is much simpler. Be mindful that your digital footprint will likely grow much faster in the future than it has in the past.

Actions to Consider