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Beyond estate planning: Is your information organized?

Texas residents are told that having even a basic estate plan including a will, powers of attorney and a living will is essential. That is true, but estate planning efforts could be in vain without organizing the important papers that family members will need if an individual becomes incapacitated or passes away. The trusted individuals who are named to carry out his or her wishes need to know where to find the information needed to take care of that person's affairs.

While an individual is gathering information in order to create an estate plan, it may be beneficial to put it all in a central location. In addition, a list with all of the necessary names, addresses and phone numbers could make things easier on family members. For all accounts -- including those that are maintained and used online -- the account numbers, user names and passwords should be included on the list or put on a separate one.

Once the list is compiled, it can be kept with the estate planning documents. Family members should know where the information is kept so that it can be quickly accessed if needed. Periodic updates may be required in order to keep the information as current as possible.

Texas estate planning allows an individual to control what happens to his or her assets upon death. It can also be viewed as a final gift to family members since it will typically reduce the time and cost that already grieving loved ones must spend to take care of his or her affairs during incapacitation or after death. Keeping this information as organized as possible can go a long ways toward giving everyone peace of mind.

Source: CBS Boston, "Where Are All The Important Papers?", Dee Lee, Nov. 24, 2014

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