One great gift you can give your family is clarity. When you pass on, do not make them guess what you would have wanted or search for things you would typically keep private. You will not be there to guide them.  You can retain your privacy while you are healthy and alive and still leave behind written instructions and easy-to-find legal documents when they need them.

Last Will and Testament

This document gives you the power to decide who will care for your children and pets and what will happen to your possessions after you’re gone. You can also name an executor and include provisions for your funeral.

Revocable Living Trust

A living trust is another way to pass on assets to your heirs while avoiding probate court proceedings. You can name a trustee to manage your property and distribute it according to your wishes.

Beneficiary Designations

When you purchase life insurance or open a retirement plan or bank account, you’ll be asked to name a beneficiary. These designations take precedence over instructions in a will, so review and update them as your life changes.

Durable Power of Attorney

This document allows you to choose someone to act on your behalf, financially and legally, if you become unable to make decisions.

Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will

These documents ensure that someone can make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and let you specify the type of care you do or do not want in the future.

Digital Asset Trust

Use a digital asset trust to decide what happens to your electronic property and online accounts after you die. Create a separate list of your passwords for reference.

List of Bills and Accounts

Another item helpful for your heirs is a list of bills and accounts, including contact information and account numbers, so your representative can settle and close these accounts.

Letter of Intent

Write a letter to convey your wishes for things that don’t belong in your will, such as detailed funeral or memorial service instructions.

Portfolio of Important Documents

Make sure your family knows where to find all the documents you’ve prepared. This list will help them navigate your affairs effectively. Make a list of documents, including where each is stored. Include papers for:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities
  • Pension or retirement accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Divorce records
  • Birth and adoption certificates
  • Real estate deeds
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds

Upon the demise of a loved family member, there is grief and anxiety – and chaos.  You can leave a great gift to your loved ones if you can eliminate some of the chaos.