We don’t live our lives expecting fatality or terminal illness, but on the other hand, living like there’s no tomorrow can have its own repercussions, especially if we leave our loved ones behind to pick up the threads. It’s a good idea to write instructions down that will let your family know what to do in case something happens to you. Here are a few guidelines that you can follow to organize your financial affairs and protect your family and loved ones in case of an unexpected event.
Keep documents in one place
Choose a drawer or section of your filing cabinet to place all your important documents like insurance papers, investment, bank and other financial papers and real estate documents. Try to keep all your documents in one place only.
Create will and testament
By writing out a will, you can name the person(s) to whom you want your assets to go to. Include the date, place and method of creation. Put down your trustees’ names and the place where you have kept related documents regarding estate and trust plans. Many people keep their wills and estate plans in a bank safety deposit locker, and it is a good idea to do so.
Provide advance directives on health care
If you fall ill and are not in a position to give instructions, you can write out a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care. A living will lets your family know how you wish to be looked after. This will go a long way in relieving your family members from making difficult decisions regarding your health care. With a durable power of attorney for health care, you can entrust an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf. Discuss this arrangement with the person in question to make sure he or she is comfortable with the idea.
Give directions on settlement of financial affairs
Make sure you also give directives to meet any mortgage, credit card or loan payments. Inform your advisors of decisions and let them know where they can locate all the documents that they will need. This way, you can make sure that all your financial obligations are taken care of. Organize records related to sources of income, social security details, tax returns, original deeds to your home and vehicle, medical policy information, credit and debit card numbers and the location of your safe deposit box along with its key.
Get help from a family member to set your affairs in order and make sure your preferences are clearly documented for future reference. It may seem a little awkward initially but it will ensure that your wishes are respected, understood and carried out.