Originally written by Kim Whitley for Focus Newspaper

Estate Planning does not end with signing the documents.  The following tips will help your family in the event of death or emergency:

  1. Document Distribution-Make sure you have distributed copies of your Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA Authorizations to anyone named in the documents.  In addition, your physician should have a copy of your Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA Authorization. Keeping a copy of your health care documents in the glove box of your vehicle, as well as making an “emergency packet” to take to the hospital on short notice is advisable.  
  2. Access to Documents-Do not circulate copies of Wills and/or Trusts; however, let your first successor Executor and/or Trustee know where the originals of these documents are kept.  The Clerk of Court will not probate a photocopy of a Will unless a lawyer files a petition and presents certain evidence. If you keep the documents in a safe deposit box, make sure that your first successor Executor and/or Trustee is authorized with the bank to get into the box.
  3. Digital Assets-Make a list of digital accounts, user names, and passwords.  Password books are available, and protected online password services are also an option.
  4. Consolidation-Make a notebook which contains your estate planning documents, along with the most recent statement for each bank account, investment account, life insurance, and additional assets.  Information regarding debts and loans should also be added. This information will be invaluable in the event of death or crisis.  
  5. Discard outdated documents-Shred old, outdated, and revoked estate planning documents.  Discarding old life insurance policies that are no longer in effect will save your family time in investigating whether the policy still applies.  

Implementing the tips above can be if invaluable benefit to the individuals handling your affairs in the event of death or incapacity.  

 

 

 

*DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only.  It is not intended as a source of legal advice, and no information provided should be considered or relied upon as legal advice on any specific matter.