A key aspect of financial planning is taking steps today to prepare for the future. While we anticipate being part of that future, life is unpredictable, and we never know when our time will come. Planning for our eventual departure from this life generally doesn’t rise to the top of our priority list but doing so can provide peace of mind. Below is a list of actions we can take now to assist our loved ones after we are gone.
• Prepare a “When I Am Gone” letter that provides helpful information and guidance that could include:
o Expressions of gratitude and appreciation (be sure to also communicate these during your lifetime).
o The name and contact information of individuals that can be trusted for guidance related to important matters such as financial and property management decisions.
o An overview of your financial accounts, income sources, and assets.
o The location of important documents.
• Have up-to-date estate planning documents
o Will / Trust, Power of Attorney for Financial Matters, Advance Directive (Living Will)
• Provide clear direction as to who you wish to receive special personal property such as family heirlooms, which can become a source of disharmony between your survivors.
o It’s best to communicate your wishes and address any concerns during your lifetime.
• Compile a summary of information on how to access your digital information.
o Passwords for cell phone, tablet, computer
o User name and password for accounts (if the account has two party authentication, include how to access the second party device (ex. cell phone)
Bank accounts, investment accounts, tax preparation services (ex. TurboTax)
Online merchants (ex. Amazon)
Credit card benefit accounts (ex. airline miles)
Web storage accounts (ex. Apple iCloud, Google Drive)
Additional helpful information can be found at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: