Joyce Wadler, a brilliant humorist who writes the “I Was Misinformed” column for the New York Times, recently penned an essay titled “The Sex Toys in the Attic” in which she suggests that in addition to designating someone to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated, we should also identify an “Eradicator” to come into our home after we die and remove all of the embarrassing items less they be found by unsuspecting family members clearing out your house after you are gone. Going through that process recently after my mother died – clearing out the house, not looking for sex toys – the point was driven home as we tried to piece together where her assets are located and who these treasures belong to. A little planning goes a long way to helping your family sort things out when you are no longer able to assist them.
- Your important end of life documents should be conveniently located in one spot and accessible to your designee. The power of attorney, health care directive, will, and trust documents should be safely stored, preferably outside your home, in a location known by your trusted individual. Putting all of these items in your safe deposit box in the bank does you absolutely no good if your trusted individual does not have access to that safe deposit box. Other alternatives include storing the documents with your attorney or in a commercial storage facility/company designed to hold such important documents.
- You should have a list of all of your accounts (bank, checking, investment, retirement, pension) stored along with your end of life documents. This highly sensitive information should include the financial institution name, your account numbers along with any information needed to access these accounts.
- A list of credit cards, debit cards, and debt obligations, along with their account numbers and access information, is also necessary to assist your designee in paying your final bills to close out your estate.
- In this modern, technology based world, a list of your online accounts, user identification, and passwords is also helpful to your designee in closing these accounts and managing the removal of your electronic footprint after you are gone.
The bottom line is you want your trusted individual to be able to easily execute your wishes in accordance with your end of life document. You do not want to place additional obstacles in their path to getting that done. And you don't want them to stumble upon those embarrassing possessions in the back of the sock drawer either.
For more information regarding end of life planning, wills, trusts, estates and elder law contact The Tyra Law Firm at (301)315-0811 to make an appointment.