Shelley’s mother, Di, died this year at a young age of 62. Two lessons were learned:
First, a mother and daughter never want to talk about death, especially when both Mother and Daughter know that Mom has entered her final journey. Second, once death occurs, finding assets, paying debts, and handling Mom’s estate can be like looking for a needle in a hay stack.
Besides perfecting a valid Last Will & Testament (preferably prepared by an Attorney), you should keep good financial records. It’s hard enough to keep track of all of your own investment, health, financial and estate matters; imagine what a nightmare it would be for your child to reconstruct your finances without your knowledge. Your records should include statements, account numbers, and online account information and passwords, and I recommend digital copies of all documents. Make sure your children, or a person you trust, has access to your financial information, or provide your children with a packet of financial information upon your death. Give consideration to including at least one child in important financial decisions as you get older and before you know death is in the near future. Had Shelly and Di talked prior to finding out about Di’s illness, Shelly would have save a lot of time, energy, and effort. Instead, in a time of grief, Shelly had to reconstruct Di’s finances to properly administrate Di’s estate. Talking with an Estate Planning Attorney can help you avoid this problem.