by Andrew A. Strauss

Make preparations now to keep family and loved ones secure when you are no longer here!

Have you ever seen estate planning documents that are in fancy docket covers, folded up and placed in a bank safety deposit box for safekeeping? We see them all the time. We often joke that these documents could stand on their own because they have been folded and stored for so many years that when they eventually see the light of day, they are stiff enough to stand upright when placed on end.

Estate planning isn’t about fancy or complicated legal documents. Rather, it is about implementing goals and desires in an understandable and easy to administer way. Organizing information such as key contacts, beneficiaries, tangible personal property, online login and answers to security questions, pet information, etc. can help make sure that the estate plan is implemented properly.

Strauss Attorneys provides clients with a three-ring book that contains a glossary and tabbed sections to make documents easily accessible. Behind each tab is a short description of the document that follows so that anyone who picks up the book can get a brief summary of what each section is about.

In today’s digital world, clients often ask for their documents to be placed on a USB drive so that they can be downloaded to their computer. We find that to be helpful, but it doesn’t always allow access to family members, financial advisors, and accounting professionals who may need it. For that reason, we now offer clients the opportunity to store their documents (and any other important information) in digital format on StraussSecure – an encrypted portion of our website. The StraussSecure portal is accessed by clicking on the rotating lock at the top of www.strausslaw.com. It is even possible to give different levels of access to different people. For example, you may want to give children access to only healthcare documents but not to your will or living trust. Likewise, financial advisors can be allowed access to only the financial information that you have stored on StraussSecure. It is your own customizable estate planning vault.

Whatever method you choose to organize your information, you will be doing a service for those that follow you. The death of a loved one is a stressful journey. Providing a roadmap to your instructions, information and planning is a loving act for which you will be thanked.

The more of a roadmap you can provide in the way of instructions and planning is a loving way to set them down the road to your important information. Don’t forget to tell them where your keys are hidden!

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