Is there any thing else to a good estate plan?
Yes! There are a few additional items to consider when creating your estate plan.
Letter of Instruction
The first and most important document you should have is a Letter of Instruction. This is where you provide essential information someone would need to have after your death. Your goal is to make it easier for your family to know who to call and where to find your important information. This is where you can include more personal information than what is appropriate in a will. For example, you could prevent family bickering by identifying who should get which family heirlooms. Importantly, this document doesn’t require a lawyer to create and can be prepared in a number of ways.
I can help you identify the important information to include and can provide examples of different formats.
Have you thought about what you would like to happen to your body after you die? Because this is not the most pleasant subject to think about, it helps if you consider it from your family’s perspective. Will they know what do to? Do they know if you prefer burial or cremation? Where you want to be buried or what to do with your ashes? What kind of memorial service you want? Providing answers to these and other questions can be of immense help to your loved ones during a time of stress and grief.
Much of the information can be specified in your Letter of Instruction, including contact information if you have already made plans with a particular funeral home or cemetery. It is important to note that your will is NOT the place to include funeral details as your will may not be immediately available after your die.
This is another subject you might have specific thoughts about. If you have a particular organization who is to receive your donation, make sure its contact information is readily available as arrangements usually have to be carried out promptly.
Again, your letter of instruction is an excellent place to include the necessary details.
Are you a pet owner or do you rely on the assistance of a service animal? If so, you should make plans for what will happen to your animals, not only for after you die but also in the event you become temporarily unavailable to care for them. You have a broad range of options here, but documenting your wishes will help ensure those creatures who gave so much to you are properly cared for.
I can suggest ways to ensure your animals continue to be well cared for, including establishing trusts that can provide the funds for their care.
If this information raised questions you have not previously thought about, call me to discuss how you can incorporate these factors into your estate plan.