Untangling all of the aspects of your estate can be daunting for you but it can be even worse for your loved ones. You may pass away without leaving your executor or your family members with an updated and complete list of where all your materials are and how they can be accessed.
Think about all of the assets and pieces of property you have accumulated over the course of a lifetime. If you have not clearly planned and articulated where these will go after you pass away, you’ll leave this mess for your loved ones to determine. Your bank account, mutual fund holdings, and brokerage accounts, as just a couple of examples, are associated with many different usernames and passwords and sometimes these require answers to security questions that your loved ones might not know.
Since not all of your holdings will be available electronically, you will need to plan for how an executor can access these materials. Some possessions are completely digital, like your social media accounts or the online place where you store all of your photos. However, if you don’t have passwords or a succession plan for these items to be passed on, you could be setting yourself up for failure and make things harder on your loved ones.
They might never be able to access these accounts at all since each of these individual companies have their own rules about how these assets can be passed to someone else, if at all.
You need the support of an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer to walk you through each aspect of the estate planning process and to counsel you about what to expect so that you can avoid these mistakes.
Starting a master list of all the different places where you have an account and adding to it as these jump into your mind over the course of a couple weeks can make it easier to have access to all of these. Many people don’t realize how many accounts and assets they have until they go through the process of creating a master list.