What documents should I have ready in case my partner or I should die?

By Ken Clark AAA
A:

Estate planning is one of those topics that most people avoid dealing with until they're forced to. Because of this, many people find themselves in a bind when a loved one passes away. By having an up-to-date estate plan, as well as keeping your key documents well-organized, you can ensure your partner or heirs are not over-burdened in a time of loss.

It'd be wise to have an "estate-planning folder" tucked away somewhere safe, with updated copies of all your pertinent documents. This naturally would include a will, and for most investors, a living trust. It should also include up-to-date copies of all your beneficiary designations (who gets the money if you die) for your retirement plans and life insurance. Lastly, it should include a list of all of your assets held by other parties such as bank and brokerage accounts.

It'd also be wise to include in this folder, copies of any medical directives, durable powers of attorney and living wills you may have. These documents give specific instructions and delegate specific decision-making ability in the event that you become incapacitated. Likewise, you should include a list of any last wishes you might have regarding your burial and memorial service.

For further reading, see Getting Started On Your Estate Plan and Six Estate Planning Must-Haves.


This question was answered by Ken Clark.

RELATED FAQS

  1. Under what circumstances will a contingent beneficiary receive an insurance payout?

    Learn the different types of contingent beneficiaries and what conditions must be met for these beneficiaries to receive ...
  2. What happened to Nathan Rothschild's estate after his death?

    Learn more about the Rothschild fortune and the business operations that brought this family substantial success in finance ...
  3. What happened to Bernard Baruch's estate after his death?

    Learn what became of financier Bernard Baruch's multimillion dollar estate upon his death in 1965, and learn about his philanthropic ...
  4. What are the differences between a revocable trust and a will?

    Investigate the choice between a revocable trust and a traditional will and how their unique advantages can match asset management ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Laughing Heir

    A distant relative who has inheritance rights despite not having ...
  2. Ultimogeniture

    A system of inheritance whereby the youngest son gains possession ...
  3. Crummey Trust

    An estate planning technique that can be employed to take advantage ...
  4. Gift Letter

    Written correspondence to a lender stating that money received ...
  5. Beneficial Interest

    The right to receive benefits on assets held by another party. ...
  6. Dynasty Trust

    Long-term trusts created to pass wealth from generation to generation ...

You May Also Like

Related Articles
  1. No results found.
Trading Center