The importance of logging your assets for your executor
Our practice involves both the planning and the administration side of deceased estates. This gives us a unique insight into how important it is, not only to have a well written estate plan (which typically includes a Will, trust and power of attorney), but to also include a thorough guidance note to your executor(s) regarding how they should go about finding your assets and dealing with them.
These are questions that the executor will need to know the answers to but may not know where to look when the time comes.
And you won’t be around to ask.
Questions which you should provide detailed answers to are as follows:
Where do you bank? What type of accounts do you have?
What property do you own? Both movable and immovable.
Do you own shares? Who are the administrators?
Do you have investments? Where are they held?
Do you have offshore assets?
Have you named beneficiaries on your life insurance policies?
What are the contact numbers and addresses of your beneficiaries?
Do you have a safety deposit box?
Where is your Will kept?
None of these questions are answered in the body of your Will. They are all an important part of the planning that goes into your Will, but they are not written in the Will. Knowing the answers to these questions can make the task of being executor a lot less daunting. We have countless executors in our office saying “I just don’t know where to start”. We can offer guidance of course, but the more you can do to assist your executor ahead of time, the better.
When is it appropriate to give your executor all those vital details to assist them in a job that they have likely never done before in their life? There is no “school for executors”, they are often family members or good friends, who feel obligated to take on this role when asked (if they were asked at all), with little or no experience whatsoever.
A simple letter of direction or “assets log” can greatly assist your executor to fulfil his or her role in the best and most efficient way. The more your executor knows about your estate, the more he/she can gather the information, without a great deal of expense incurred to your estate during the information gathering process.
Assisting your executor with a letter of direction or “assets log” can greatly ease this daunting task. It can easily be held with your Will at your lawyer’s office if you are concerned about providing too much information to your executor ahead of time.
Most importantly, if you have been appointed as an executor you must consult with a professional regarding the administration of any deceased estate.
Our gift to you is here. Please use this “assets log” as a guide and supplement it with information that is applicable to your personal circumstances.
We are here to guide and assist you should you have any queries.