5. Wills and Trusts
It is important to draw up a will to designate the distribution of your possessions, money, and property in the event of your death. Doing so ensures that your belongings end up in the right hands and frees friends and family members from making tough decisions. If you have gone to the trouble of drawing up a will, be sure your loved ones are aware of its existence. Store your will and other legal documents in a safe, secure, and logical location.
4. Contact Information
If you live alone, it especially important to keep contact information accessible and readily retrievable. Essential phone numbers include those of immediate family members or close friends. Provide phone numbers for your physician, dentist, lawyer, and clergyman. Other helpful contact numbers include those of your employer, your insurance agent, and any household employees such as your housekeeper or landscaper.
3. Recent Tax Returns
According to the IRS, tax returns should be kept for a minimum of three years. The IRS recommends holding onto to tax returns for seven years in special cases, such as if you have filed a loss claim for bad debt reductions or worthless securities. In addition to maintaining these records for tax purposes, the information on your returns may be necessary when applying for loans. Mortgage loans and student loans often require information found on your tax return.
2. Funeral Plans
A funeral plan provides your loved ones with your wishes regarding your memorial service, burial, or cremation. This allows them to carry out your wishes without guessing at your intentions. However, if your funeral plans are unknown or undiscovered, they will not be of use. If you draw up plans for after your death, make sure your loved ones are aware of these plans. Provide them with information so they can access them when needed.
1. Designated Beneficiary Records
Certain accounts such as life insurance, retirement, and annuity accounts require you to designate a beneficiary. This person or persons will inherit the proceeds from your policy once you pass away. Keeping records of these policies in an accessible place enables your loved ones to determine your assets in a timely manner. Thus, they will be able to properly distribute them in the event of your death.Related: Reflections on What People Say Before They Die