So, you have taken care of your estate planning with a Last Will and Testament or, preferably, a living trust. You have signed powers of attorney for health care decisions and for financial matters. You have protected your property by forming limited liability companies to own your income-producing assets, such as rentals or businesses. Well, you are still not finished in properly planning for the day when you die.
More often than not, a surviving spouse, children or other heirs, executors or successor trustees of a deceased person who controlled the finances in his or her household are faced with a great deal of uncertainty and confusion unless the decedent left detailed written information about relevant financial matters. In many cases, a survivor has not been actively involved in financial decisions or management. When children, other relatives, friends or charities are the ones who inherit from the deceased person, they often have little or no information about the person’s assets and obligations.
Therefore, it is important to make a list of your assets, including real estate, bank or credit union accounts, investment accounts, life insurance and vehicles, as well as your debts. The list should state the location of all important documents, such as wills, trusts, deeds, insurance policies, car titles and contracts. Make sure you provide contact information for your attorney, accountant, insurance agents and investment advisors. Give as much information as you can about all financial and legal aspects of your life so that your survivors will not have the added stress and anxiety of being overwhelmed by not knowing where to even begin to take over.
There are many aspects to good estate planning. Providing your loved ones with complete information about your finances is one of the most important ways to prepare for the time when you pass away.
Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley Urga Wirth Woodbury & Standish. The firm has offices in Boulder City and Las Vegas. To contact Bruce, call him at 293-3674 or 699-7500, or visit his website at www.juwws.com.