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A Beginner's Guide to the End

View profile for Sarah Begley
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What’s one of the best things you can do for your loved ones, apart from caring for them well in this life? Sort out your paperwork before you die.

Yes, that’s right. Imagine if you hold lots of accounts online where you receive payments for intellectual property through iTunes, Google Play and more? Your book, app or corporate piece of music that represents teamwork will live on after you, so isn’t it crucial to ensure your relatives get the benefit of it when you are gone?

Here, we’ve summarised some of the other paperwork you need to get in order to make your passing easier on your loved ones. 



Number one is obviously a will. Without an up-to-date, valid will, you risk your estate being distributed in ways you don’t agree to. Your wishes might include donations to charity, for example, or gifts to good friends. Remember Will Aid in November, where you can get a will done for the cost of a donation to the Will Aid charities.

A list of financial accounts and beneficiaries. Experts recommend you keep an up-to-date list of all your finances, including bank and retirement accounts and others such as brokerage funds. Each of these accounts can have a designated heir or transfer on death provision (called a TOD) so that those named automatically get ownership of the asset after you die.

An explanation. A letter of explanation for your will explains how your assets are to be divided and will give the rationale for the decisions, which can help prevent arguments. You might want to split your estate unevenly between your children—say, more to one who doesn’t have as much money. Lawyers advise too that this is a good conversation to have while you are still alive.

An inventory. List all your property, such as jewellery, art work and household goods. Wills distribute this broadly, so it’s good practice to have a list so that nothing is forgotten, especially if it is something that is stored elsewhere.

Records of life insurance policies. Your family members might not know of these, and it would be a shame if they missed out.

Records of land and property you own. Your heirs likely know what you own, but it’s helpful to have a list of these, too.

Tax returns. If you use an accountant or book-keeper, have their name and details on record so that they can help with the final tax return for your estate. If you do your own returns, print copies for your files and any login information for returns you complete online.

Login information for your online accounts. Many people have online bank accounts. A digital will records all your online accounts (including social media platforms) and the login details, so that accounts can be closed, and monies accessed. You can designate a digital executor.

Finally, in your will you might also want to include information such as what you want done relating to organ donation. And if you have pets, you should consider what happens to them.

If you would like to get in touch with Finders International regarding tracing heirs or assets to estates, please contact us today on Free phone 0800 085 8796, email or visit our website.

Contact our experts for further advice