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Why is it important to have your affairs in order before you pass away?

No one knows when he/she will pass away. Even though you are young, and that seems to be something to do later in life, the importance of having your affairs in order needs to be emphasized. No person wants to leave their family without any knowledge of their financial affairs, like insurances, policies, and loans that were in their name. You should obtain a probate lawyer to help you plan.

The Top Things to Do When Making Your Will

Ensure Family Members Have access to Your Records

Information about personal records and financial records must be accessible to a family member or a caretaker. In case of the absence of such information, a legal mess can arise. You don’t want to leave an expensive problem for the ones you love, so planning is important. You wouldn’t want your hard earned income or assets, like properties, and other valuables, to go to someone of whom you don’t approve. Creating wills and trusts will let you choose the person you want your money and property to go to when you die.

If you are the decision maker of the family, and no one else knows about your financial decisions, always have a backup plan, and be ready for the unexpected events that life throws you. The solution is an estate lawyer to help you plan. Be sure to ask about the lawyer's fees before you make an appointment as you need to ensure if it is within your budget.

Your Will

Drawn in the presence of an attorney, the will must be a clear manifestation of your wishes. It should be very detailed as to avoid confusion later. If you are creating a will while young, make sure to keep it updated. Will renewal can be done if situations change. Two important things to remember are, to cancel all previous existing wills, and that your new will has the correct date and signature.

While creating a will, keep in mind that you do not use it to settle conflicts or grudges. Wills containing wishes to sell certain items at the time of your departure, can at times lead to financial loss, as market rates fluctuate. The best idea is to leave the decision of sale or purchase with the heirs.

Create Trusts

Certain situations like minor dependant children, require the control of an authority over assets that cannot be distributed until the child (children) is a certain age. Trustees must be named in such cases.

Appoint Power of Attorney

Life can't be predicted and there may come circumstances when you suffer from illness or aren't of sound mind. You should appoint a power of attorney to a trusted person close to you, so he/she can decide on your behalf. This person will then be able to make decisions concerning your estate which you left behind.

Living Will

There may be a time when your family needs to make that hard decision against prolonging your life. A living will then comes into the picture. It is a permission letter for the doctor to take you off life support, when there is no chance of survival. Permission must be given well in advance for your doctor or lawyer to talk to your caretaker in order to avoid confusion regarding your care, bills, or an insurance claim.

Get Your Papers in Order

Keep your immediate family members informed about all your important documents which should be kept together in one place. Here is a list of documents and information that should be included:

  • Contact details of your attorney.
  • The representatives of the bank.
  • Doctor’s name and phone number.
  • Insurance company or investment firms
  • Copies of healthcare and other insurance policies or cards
  • Name of an immediate family member can be added to the bank records for accessing safety deposit box or saving accounts.

However daunting it may sound, no one wants to go with the knowledge their lack of planning, or sharing of important information might put the needs and future of their loved ones at risk.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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