Two weeks ago, I went to visit my parents. Dad had surgery pending, and I wanted to let him know I cared. Dad was excited to take me downstairs and show me his estate planning before we visited. I knew his will and trusts were in shape because I drew them. Nevertheless, Dad needed to show me where to find everything because I’m the trustee. Dad had been asked, “Are your affairs in order?” He was doing just that. He has settled two estates, and he knows how hard it is to find all the bank accounts and securities. He has seen family fights over how personal property is dispersed.
Dad is determined not to let this happen in our family. His personal letter (distributing his personal property) is already made and is stored in a file. He has all the accounts he owns listed on his schedules. He disclosed to me where he kept his bank safety deposit box key. Dad has always been in the forefront of technology, so of course he handed me a list of each of his computer and account passwords. That is great thinking! Have you thought to give your trustees your electronic passwords? In the electronic world you can’t access a thing without passwords. If you haven’t thought of this, you should start now to maintain an accessible list of all of your passwords for your trustees.
My father is a good example for everyone. When it’s time to wind up your estate, your executor will need to find information on everything you own. to get your affairs in order, compile a list of hidden items and their location. Make files of your bank and brokerage account statements that should be easily accessible. Make a file listing your protected passwords on your computer programs and on everything else from your email accounts to your electronic banking records. How do you access your safety deposit box, and what bank is it in? How do you access your safe, home alarm, etc? You should explain all needed instructions for your executor for each login, security code or locked place. It will save your executor hours, and may prevent your heirs from losing valuable property and won’t take much time.