Putting an Estate Plan in Place in Just One Week
If you have ever lost a loved one, you know just how difficult it can be to function after such a terrible loss. The reality is that when one of your loved ones passes, someone in your family is going to have to move quickly to make decisions, divvy up responsibilities, and plan for the days that follow. Very few individuals have the time or forethought to plan all these things before they pass, which will leave you with quite a to-do list while you are in this compromised state. At WAEPA, we want to help you ease into this difficult transition with as much ease as possible. If you want to learn more about how you can prepare or take care of any of the steps necessary to set up any plans or transferal of funds, contact our team today.
To help get you started, here are five steps to help you set up a thorough and efficient estate plan in just one week.
Make Plans for Organ Donations and Contact Family Members
Organ donation can be a finicky process, and depending on how your loved one passed, they could easily help save a life if they elected to do so. If they passed away in a hospital, the facility will move quickly to facilitate your loved one’s wishes, but if they passed away outside of a medical facility plans will need to be made quickly in order for the organ donation process to take place. Once those plans have taken place, you need to notify as many friends and family members as you possibly can. Notifying the family will help you establish a support network while also helping you divide the responsibilities as necessary. We recommend that you either write an email or send out a text to everyone that you think would be interested, so that responsibilities are clearly laid out and documented.
Gather Important Documents
This process can easily get overwhelming, and if you are scrambling to find the proper documentation through it all, you will find yourself getting flustered. You can make this process easier on you and the rest of your family by gathering all the important documents necessary for this process to function. You will need the following documents for a variety of things to come:
- Death certificates (at least a dozen)
- Will and trust documents
- Social Security card
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate/Passport
- Birth certificates for any minor children
- Life insurance policies
- Other insurance policies
- Deeds and titles to property
- Automobile title and registration papers
- Stock certificates
- Bank statements
- Recent income tax forms and W-2 forms
- Loan and installment payment books and contracts
- Disability and pension claims
- Honorable discharge papers for a veteran and/or VA claim number
Make Funeral Preparations
Making preparations for a funeral will be very difficult, but it is important to try to take care of this as soon as possible. Start by finding a venue and setting a date with them. Once you have a date and a time set, the rest of the process will fall into place ranging from flowers to speakers and casket options.
Notify the Post Office
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but your loved one is going to continue to receive incoming mail. Notify the post office of a forwarding address so that you can get all of the incoming mail sent straight to you or someone you trust so that no important legal documents or sentimental letters get lost.
Close All Accounts & Notify Social Security
You then need to liquefy all of the accounts that your loved one had so that assets can be allocated appropriately. You can work out certain things like property and vehicles with your siblings (if it was your parent who passed, for instance) so that not everything needs to be liquidated, but if you are going to do this, you need it to be done by either a moderator or the executor of the will. You also need to notify social security as their spouse or children could receive payments in their place.
We know just how painful and difficult it can be to deal with these issues in the wake of a loved one passing. If you want to learn more about the step-by-step process you should take in order to set up an estate plan, read our Guide to Losing a Loved One here. Feel free to contact our expert staff if you have any other questions. The team here at WAEPA is always here for you no matter what time of day or night.
Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company
This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.