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4 documents that can make probate easier for loved ones

When someone passes away, he or she can leave behind some complicated -- and upsetting -- matters that loved ones must then resolve. This can include debt, asset distribution and sensitive personal affairs. 

These issues are difficult enough to address on behalf on someone else; adding in the fact that many people are grieving and struggling to cope with the loss makes it that much more onerous. To alleviate some of the challenges presented by these matters, you can create a comprehensive estate plan that provides critical guidance during probate. 

As discussed in a recent Kiplinger article, you can include the following four items in your estate plan to help loved ones during probate.

  1. A will - Whether simple or complex, a will is one of the most critical elements of an estate plan. It can provide direction for asset distribution as well as details on guardianships.
  2. Login details - Most people have digital accounts, assets and personas that warrant attention after someone passes away. By including information like accounts, user names and passwords with your estate plan, you can grant access to a specific person who can then manage the digital data as you wish.
  3. Written explanations - Family disputes often arise during probate when parties disagree on what a person truly wanted. Even if you have a will, loved ones might contest the will or interpret it differently. To provide clarity and context, you can include a written explanation of your wishes in your estate plan. 
  4. Asset information - Another common issue that arises during probate is locating and valuing assets. You can save your loved ones a lot of time and energy by making a list of all your assets. Include details on ownership rights, value and location of the assets, as well as any debts and loans you might have.

These are just four elements of an estate plan that can prove to be quite valuable during the probate process. To examine these and additional options in more detail, you can consult your attorney.

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