Thursday, August 16, 2012

Five Things Your Personal Representative Should Know

If you are reading this blog, chances are estate planning is an interest to you.  If so, go beyond the formal documents (wills, trusts, powers of attorney) and think about the practical aspects of your life that you should convey to your personal representative (that's the person who administers an estate, Hollywood calls it the Executor).  Here are 5 things I encourage my clients to share with their PR (either via conversation or in a letter):

  1. The location of your will -- the original that is, not a copy;
  2. What bills are set up for auto debit from a checking or credit card account -- forwarding the mail is not like it used to be;
  3. Names and addresses for friends and family who should be notified of your passing.  Smartphones are nifty, but trouble lurks.  I keep a print out of my holiday card mailing list, with a note to send them a copy of my obituary.
  4. Name of your accountant along with one or two years of previous returns; and
  5. Name of your veterinarian as well as notes on any pets that have medicines or special food.
The list goes on, but these are five that I feel strongly about.  Remember, a blog is not a replacement for an attorney.   It is best to seek counsel from a lawyer in your state.

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