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Why is a will important?

What happens when you are no longer here? What documentation do you have in place that will guide your executor, trustee or the person who has power of attorney over your estate to make sure that your wishes are handled accordingly? Many times, it comes down to the fact that your executor doesn't even know where the key to your lockbox is, much less your account numbers or even what accounts you have open.

What usually happens is that you may die with a will; however, the person that you have entrusted with the right to execute your wishes and desires has no idea where you keep your account information. Where is the key to your lockbox at the bank that holds your important information? On the other hand, is all your information held in your lockbox or do you need to tell your attorney (your executor) where that key is? Does he or she know what accounts are outstanding and need to be paid? These and other questions will definitely come up when you are no longer here.

Many times, an executor or attorney will represent you when you are no longer able to. Are there any areas of your estate that you have strong feelings about? Have you talked to your attorney to ensure that he or she knows your desires?

You may not realize this, but the person who has power of attorney over your estate will do his or her best to ensure that what you want done is done. Having a will and estate plan in place is important. Your relatives will be able to turn to your lawyer and/or your trustee will be able to guide them through this process.

Source: Financial Times, "The best estate plan Is worthless if it can't be found," Michael Pace, Oct. 03, 2015

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