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If one has an estate plan, organization can be key to ensuring that the plan is carried out in the manner intended. For example, a person in Kansas City might have a will or trust, a financial power of attorney that names another person tasked with handling the person’s financial affairs, if the person is incapacitated, and advance health care directives containing information about the person’s preferred end-of-life medical care. However, without organization, it can become difficult to follow the person’s estate plan as it is meant to be followed.

Primarily, all estate planning documents must be accessible. If others are unable to locate a person’s estate planning documents, it can delay the execution of these documents, or make it difficult to understand the person’s end-of-life wishes.

Second, it can be helpful for a person to have certain pieces of information accessible, to aid in the execution of their estate plan. For example, having a list of contact information of relatives, friends, physicians and professional advisers, like an attorney can help. A list of any medications a person takes, and what they are used to treat, can be helpful.

In addition, personal documents, such as a person’s marriage license, Social Security card and birth certificate should be made accessible. If these things are kept in a safe deposit box, safe or other secured place, a person should make sure that they provide information about where the key or combination is located. Compiling a list of service providers, such as utility companies, can also be helpful in winding up a person’s affairs once he or she passes away.

Moreover, there are certain financial records that should be made accessible to a trusted person that are helpful to have when it comes to executing an estate plan. These include a list of bank accounts, a list of one’s debts and liabilities, information regarding any retirement plans or other company benefits one has, insurance information and information about where to find one’s tax records.

Having one’s estate planning documents and additional information organized and available can make the execution of one’s estate plan much easier. But, it may be helpful to have an attorney to ensure that one’s estate planning documents are sufficient.

Source: Tryon Daily Bulletin, “How to organize your affairs,” Jim Miller, Jan. 5, 2017