Creating an estate plan is an important step in getting your affairs in order for after you pass away. However, if your loved ones don’t know how to proceed after your death, your estate planning efforts may have been partially in vain.
An estate planning “fire drill” can act as a practice run to ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive and your loved ones know what to do when you die. Read on to learn the three steps to hold an estate planning fire drill.
Step 1: Explain Your Documents
Your family members need to understand each of the documents in your estate plan to ensure that they meet your wishes after your death. As a result, before you hold your estate planning fire drill, be sure to explain your documents.
We recommend gathering a copy of your will, power of attorney, healthcare proxy, real estate deeds, trust documents, and any other pertinent forms. Sit down with your immediate family members and explain each document in detail. Be sure to dictate any specific actions your family members will need to take regarding the documents.
Now is also an excellent time to discuss which assets you will leave to which beneficiaries. While the movies portray probate as a surprising process in which no one knows what inheritance they’ll receive, it’s best to prepare your loved ones in advance. Then, they can avoid any confusion or misunderstandings after your death.
Having your estate planning attorney present during the discussion of your legal documents can also help you ensure that your loved ones understand them.
Step 2: Explain the Process
Next, you will need to walk your loved ones through the steps they should take after you pass away. Reference your estate plan to identify each stage.
You and your attorney can devise a step-by-step list of tasks you can give to your immediate family members. Your list may include tasks like:
- Contact the attorney
- Contact this list of family members
- Use this particular funeral home
You may also make a list for your estate executor with tasks like:
- Obtain several copies of the death certificate
- Pay off debts to these certain creditors
- Distribute assets according to the will
With this list, your family can feel confident that they are accomplishing all of the right tasks without needing to remember them offhand. The list will be especially important after your death, when your loved ones may be overwhelmed with stress and grief.
Step 3: Do a Practice Run
Finally, your family members will be ready to practice the estate planning “fire drill.” Invite them to pretend that you have passed away and walk through each step they will take. Avoid helping them during the fire drill, but take note of any questions they may have so you can answer them afterward.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Upper Marlboro, MD
If you need help creating an estate plan that executes all of your wishes for your assets, property, and healthcare, contact the Law Office of Ralph Powers Jr., PC today at 301-627-1000.