If someone asked you if you have your affairs in order, what would you say?  Would you sit back and relax in your favorite chair knowing that you have met with your attorney and your instructions are clearly mapped out, signed and notarized? Your life is a well-oiled machine right?    Well-oiled does not mean simple, without detail.   What about all those “little” details?

Many people think that they have it all wrapped up with their legal documents in place; when in fact, the administration of an estate can be extremely taxing on their executor and/or families if details have not been  communicated.   Face it, our lives are like a complex piece of machinery.   There are lots of moving parts, some parts more critical than others, but without any instructions on what you are supposed to do with the machine when it is no longer in operation requires an instruction manual for disassembly.   Otherwise, it’s just a frustrating pile of pieces and parts.

You may want to add these to your “instruction manual”:

  1. Online Accounts that don’t always have a paper trail such as online banks, investment accounts and even gambling accounts with current balances can easily be overlooked.
  2. Valuable items without proper documentation can easily be mistaken for garage sale wares.
  3. Let someone know you have a hidden stash.   Hidden valuables can accidentally be thrown out or donated.
  4. Specific instructions on the disposition of personal items to specific individuals are often subject to individual interpretation. (can you say family fight over Mom’s antique clock?)
  5. Tell your family about your safe deposit box at the bank and also where the keys are to the box.   Safe deposit boxes at banks are often forgotten along with the location of the keys.
  6. Don’t wait for your family to discover automatic payments coming out of your bank account.   Automatic bank authorizations for various memberships, churches, on-going services, etc. will need to be addressed quickly.

Could your family figure out your machine?    Now, are you ready? Or not?