Are your important documents in order?


You’ve probably spent quite a bit of time over the years saving for your retirement and planning out what you’ll do. But have you made a plan for your assets after you’re unable to manage them?

Get your estate in order. Finalize trusts and estate arrangements early on. You may want to consider:

  • A last will and testament to detail how you wish to distribute your assets.
  • Durable power of attorney for finances and health care to name an individual(s) to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • A living will to specify your preference for health care treatment if there is no hope for recovery.

Create a list of assets to make it easier for your executor to gather information about your estate. Include retirement accounts, insurance, investments, bank accounts, real estate, and other important personal property. (Don’t forget to review beneficiaries annually on your insurance and retirement policies.)

Compile a list of debts. Include any home and auto loans, open credit cards, and other debts you might owe so they can be taken care of.

Create a home inventory. Use the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance's Personal Property Home Inventory form. Not only can this make it easier for your heirs to sort through your property later, it can help you with insurance claims at any time. You may also want to leave a list specifying who you would like to have special items, photos, etc.

Protect your digital assets. Leave information about your online accounts (e-mail, social, blogs, photo sharing, shopping, frequent flyer, credit cards, bill payment) and their user names, passwords, and any “secret” questions/answers. Keep the list secure in a safety deposit box or use a password management system.

Start planning sooner than later. By having a few simple conversations now, you can make your wishes known to your loved ones and allow them to more easily manage your affairs later on.

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