Preparing Your Heirs: The List and The Talk

By: Annika Bockius-Suwyn, Esq.

You have an estate plan! Great! (Don’t you? If not, give us a call!)

So, now what?

First, you make The List. Right now, your financial profile is in your control and in your mind: you know where all of your money is, more or less how much there is of it, and how to access it. But when you are gone, unless you write it down, that all-encompassing, bird’s eye view of your financial situation goes with you. In this age of online banking, an organized list of all of your accounts, user names, and passwords can be a daunting task to assemble and maintain, no doubt. Such a list, though, can be instrumental for your future Personal Representative (the new-ish word in Massachusetts for “Executor” or “Executrix”) as they perform their duties of wrapping up your affairs and dividing up your property according to the terms of your will.

Once you have The List, it is time to have The Talk.

It’s an awkward conversation. No one wants to have it, and everyone is uncomfortable while it is happening. But talking to your children or your Personal Representative about just what you have, and, most importantly, where all of your accounts are, is absolutely crucial. Having The Talk will save your heirs the thankless work of tracking down every account you may have squirreled away somewhere, or the wallet-ache of paying an attorney to do so. The Talk will also allow your heirs to focus on spending time with each other and celebrating your life after you are gone, rather than searching through your papers for references to old accounts. Additionally, The Talk can forestall emotionally charged fights between heirs who thought there was more to go around. A half hour or so of awkward conversation is certainly worth the heartache of a family torn apart by a fight over inheritance. And if the thought of having that talk solo is terrible, we often join our clients to help facilitate and answer any questions!

Here at DangerLaw, we are all about helping you plan for the unexpected. Let us help you sleep at night!

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