As an executor, you will assume most of your duties after the death of your loved one. But you can do a few things before then to make your work more manageable.
Here are four things to do before your loved one dies.
1. Learn the location of the will and other crucial documents
Chances are your loved one will inform you of the location of the will and other documents. But it won’t hurt to remind them if they have not yet. Besides knowing the location of these documents, ensure you can access them. For example, if they are in a safe, you need the code. If they are in a safe deposit box, they need to make you a deputy so you can access them on their behalf if needed.
2. Record your loved one’s preferences
Your loved one may tell you about wishes not included in the legal documents. For example, how big or small they wish their funeral to be. You should ensure you write down these preferences and have them sign, or you can tape-record them. This can save you from a lot of misunderstandings.
3. Keep track of changes
It’s essential to know the changes your loved one makes to their estate plan. For example, when they withdraw funds from an investment account included in their will. When you keep track of updates, you can quickly identify errors during probate.
Documenting such changes digitally can be more convenient.
4. Learn what online platforms they have
If your loved one has online platforms, such as social media pages or online payment systems, you can ask them to list them, and make it clear what you should do with them when they die and how you can get any access you might need to do that.
Waiting until “the right time” to prepare for your role as an executor can be risky. It’s never too early to start preparing. You should also seek legal guidance to understand your duties in depth.