Are You Dead? Not Yet? How to Get Your Affairs In Order

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You may not be dead yet, but odds are it’ll happen. Setting up plans while you’re able helps make the situation after your death less difficult for those you leave behind.  And, your loved ones will thank you. 

How To Get Your Affairs In Order 

Collect all of your important papers in one place and tell someone where they are located. Preferably a trusted family member. Here’s a short list of important documents: 

  • Your Social Security card, living will, military records and other legal documents;
  • Contact information for your estate planning attorney, accountant, banks, investment firms and life insurance company;
  • Bank account info, safe deposit box key, vehicle titles, the deed to the house and last year’s tax return.
  • You may want to avoid probate by adding another person to titles and property—ask your attorney how to do this correctly;
  • Monthly bills, property tax bills, credit card companies, passwords for online billing, as well as passwords for PCs and electronic devices.

Go through your home with family members and/or friends and inventory items they hope to inherit after your death. Do this one-on-one to avoid hurt feelings and give you time to decide on how to handle sought after antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, etc. 

Put your inventory list with your important papers. Some people like placing labels on items to show who receives each specific dish, lamp, work of art, etc. In most cases, I like a written or typed and signed list because labels have the tendency “walk away” once you are gone.

Take steps for remaining alive, but unable to make decisions. Here are recommendations:

  • Give permission in advance through a durable power of attorney for health care and a regular durable power of attorney to someone you trust.
  • Choose someone you trust. Without your authority, your caregiver won’t be able to access information, consult with your doctor or pay your bills. Choose a person you believe will handle these responsibilities. 
  • An advance directive is used when you get sick. If you know what kind of care you want or don’t want, draft a living will so that your family won’t have to make the difficult decision to take you off life support. You will have made that decision in this document long before the situation arises. 

Make your own funeral and burial arrangements. This decreases the burden on your family and ensures your wishes will be followed after death. Pre-pay your burial and funeral expenses to lock in today’s cost.

Talk to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about setting up your will or using a trust to avoid probate altogether and help avoid conflicts among loved ones. 

Need some help with these plans or other life-changing moments? Give us a call at Weaver Firm- Attorneys today at 817-638-9016 to schedule an appointment.

Posted in Legal Tips Today - Travis Weaver and tagged , , , .