…Because you never know what the future holds for you.
Recently, on an episode of the Wendy Williams Show, Star Jones shared the tragic story of her friend “Rhonda” who was murdered leaving behind 3 children. Star’s promoted the website/blog NAPW that hosted a great guide for any person on how to make sure their affairs were in order should they die or become incapacitated. It doesn’t matter how much money or assets you have because it’s also important to ensure that your family or loved ones know how you want to be memorialized i.e. buried, cremated etc.
Here is an excerpt from the post.
Write a will (and update as your life and circumstances change).
Create Testamentary Trust for any minor children (if necessary).
Record information about your lawyer, accountant, financial planner or financial advisor, including his/her contact information.
Write a letter detailing what you want done with your personal possessions after your death. If you want a niece to have your engagement ring or your god-child to have your precious pet, put it in this letter. Give a copy of the letter to your lawyer and have it notarized if necessary.
Establish durable power of attorney to direct assets and investments.
Write a living will or a health-care proxy (medical power of attorney).
List all your pets, include their veterinarian names and vaccination history.
Specify who should have access to private/personal information (computers, passwords, finances, etc.).
List all irreplaceable items that are locked up (either in your home or in a safety deposit box) including jewelry, heirlooms and documents such as marriage license, birth certificates, passports, stocks, bonds and death certificates. Make a photocopy of those documents for your household files and consider taking pictures of the jewelry or other items.
List of login and passwords. (Don’t put this information in your will, which becomes public information. Put in a separate letter.) Be sure to include:
Personal website login information
Social Media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.)
Email (i.e., Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, AOL, etc.)
Websites (i.e., NAPW, LinkedIn, Ebay, Amazon, PayPal, Netflix, etc.)
Devices: tablets, iPods, phones, desktops, laptops
Find a safe and easily accessible place for your important documents.
Identify and document the location of home desks, hidden cabinets and drawers, home safe with combination or locks and any other non-obvious document storage locations. Include name, address and keys for storage lockers.
Take a physical inventory of items worth $100 or more.
Other important information:
List all dates and places of birth for yourself and all minor children
Relative’s names and contact information
Employers with dates of employment and employee ID if applicable
All property, mortgage information, utilities with names of companies, account numbers with schedules of payments
Recent tax returns
Label your keys for your car(s), office, house, vacation home, boat, etc.:
Name and contact information for the building superintendent or community manager
A list of all regular deliveries such as newspapers, milk and all regular service providers such as lawn services, waste pickup and snow removal.
Discuss plans for death with your heirs and/or close family/friends to prevent disputes and let them know your expectations.
If you wish to be buried, buy a burial plot or secure a mausoleum.
Plan your funeral/memorial service.
Send any lists and or wills to the estate administrator (dated and signed), give one to your spouse/family member and keep one for your records.
- 5 Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Will (quicken.intuit.com)
- Estate Planning Basics (quicken.intuit.com)
- Family Affairs: Do Your Kids a Favor (aarp.org)
- Star Jones, whose close friend’s sister was murdered, pleads witnesses to come forward (getmybuzzup.com)
- Star Jones Seeks Justice for Slain Mom of Three (moinaturale.wordpress.com)