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The Importance of a ‘Death Note’ in Estate Planning

Planning for the inevitable is not something most people want to think about, but it’s essential for easing the burden on your loved ones when you’re gone. A death note is an informal but vital document that provides crucial information and instructions to assist your loved ones in the event of your death.

Doug Boneparth, president and founder of Bone Fide Wealth, based in New York, suggests that a death note is distinct from other estate-planning documents such as a will. While a will deals with asset distribution upon death, a death note is focused on providing important details to make it easier for your loved ones to handle your affairs after you’re gone.

So, what should be included in your death note? The aim is to provide a comprehensive list of your financial accounts, including savings, credit cards, investments, and insurance, along with associated account numbers and login information. You should also include details about regular household bills, such as mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and subscriptions.

Don’t forget to include contact information for your estate planning attorney, accountant, and business contacts, as well as any close friends who may be instrumental in assisting your loved ones after your passing. Additionally, it’s essential to provide access information for your digital devices and any necessary passwords.

While a death note may seem focused on financial matters, it’s also essential to address your online presence, including how you’d like your social media accounts and professional websites managed after your passing. It’s not just about money; it’s about leaving behind lasting memories for your loved ones.

Regularly updating your death note is crucial, especially after significant life changes. It’s also important to let your loved ones know that you have drafted a death note and where to find it, as well as keeping a physical copy in a secure location.

In the end, preparing a death note is an act of love, not fear. Sharing your wishes and providing clarity for those you leave behind will make a challenging time a little easier for your loved ones.

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