When someone says they need to "get their affairs in order," it usually means that they will get the necessary legal documents prepared prior to their passing. Some people choose to do this after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, while others begin the process after retirement age. There are a few different things involved in preparing your estate and getting your affairs in order, which are explained in detail below.
Getting Your Important Papers Together
The first step to getting your affairs in order is gathering all of your important papers and documents and putting them in one place. You can choose how you want to organize and store them, but the most important thing is to have them in a single place and easily accessible after your passing. If you have a home office, you probably already have a filing cabinet set up. Have one main filing folder that includes all your most important paperwork so your relatives are not having to go through boxes of papers to find what they need. Another good option is keeping them in a fireproof safe.
Know What Papers You Need
For planning your estate and getting your affairs in order, there are certain papers that you definitely need to include. This includes documents with your lawyer's information and power of attorney, any funeral arrangements or deposits you have made, your financial records, your business records if you have one, and your living will. Also, don't forget to include the name and information for your vet if you have a pet. This is something many people forget to include. If you know who your pet will go to after your passing, that should also be in your will.
Let Someone Know
After you have put all your important papers in one place, make sure you tell a close relative where they are. This will make it easier to go through your effects after your passing. A big part of getting your affairs in order is making it as easy as possible. You can tell anyone you want, such as a spouse, child, or sibling. If you don't have a close relative you feel comfortable with this information, tell a friend or talk to your estate lawyer about who should be involved.
You also need to give consent to your beneficiary or trustee to access your financial records or healthcare information. Not only do you need to include this information in a will if you have one, but let your doctor, insurance company, attorney like one from Gruber & Associates, PC, and credit card company know who will be taking over your estate after you pass.