While you are still of sound mind, it is time to communicate your needs and wishes to your loved ones regarding numerous issues, such as end-of-life care, inheritance and the representation of your Florida estate. Perhaps you have someone in mind to serve as your executor. Administration of an estate involves a lot of paperwork and information, and it would be good to discuss those things in advance.
Few things are more daunting than becoming the executor of a disorganized and ill-prepared estate. You can spare your executor this burden if you take the time to discuss these delicate matters ahead of time. Your executor will likely be grateful to be included in the maintenance of your estate plan and involved in candid discussions about your preferences.
Make sure your executor knows where to find information
Simply including a list of beneficiaries and accounts in your estate plan may not be sufficient for your executor to be able to contact them after you die. You’ll want to make sure you have provided each beneficiary’s name, address and phone number, plus an email address if you have it. Your executor might not know all your beneficiaries personally, so detailed information is necessary.
You’ll also want to include the names of all institutions where you hold financial accounts. Include your account numbers, balances in the accounts and how your name appears on the accounts, or any debit or credit cards associated with the accounts. The same goes for life insurance policies, mortgage holders and other creditors.
What constitutes your estate?
In addition to money you have in the bank or benefits of a retirement fund or life insurance policy, etc., you’ll want to make sure your executor is aware of all assets associated with your estate. Part of an executor’s duty is to gather your assets. This might include deeds to real estate, artwork, jewelry, vehicles or furniture.
However, when it comes to personal or sentimental items and family heirlooms, you can relieve stress on your executor by creating a detailed list of who should receive which items. You may also wish to include your reasons for your preferences to avoid any conflicts. Doing this in advance will also allow your executor to keep track of those items, especially if you decide to disperse them ahead of time.
Create a solid estate plan and keep it updated
Ideally, you and your executor can keep track of your assets and accounts digitally. Certain platforms that allow you to share the information electronically are helpful. This way, you and your executor can periodically review the status of the estate and revise the information easily.
Incorporate in your estate planning any tools that help you achieve your objectives, such as a last will and testament, powers of attorney, revocable or irrevocable trust or advance directives. Tell your executor everything that’s in your plan. It’s also helpful to review your entire Florida estate plan periodically and make additions or deletions as needed so that it is always up to date.