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By:  Sandra L. Clapp, Esq.

Finances and death are often viewed as taboo subjects for family discussion.  For this reason, it is not uncommon to let important desires go unspoken, leaving your loved ones to search for information or make decisions under stressful circumstances.  Organizing personal information and communicating with loved ones on these important topics is a gift.  You may consider the following topics to guide your discussions:

Health Care Directives.  Address your health care desires and who will be in charge of directing health care decisions.  If you do not have a living will and power of attorney for health care, the present Idaho statutory form can be downloaded at under the “Resources” tab.  Update your health care directives with the new form if prepared more than two years ago. 

Funeral and Burial Desires.  Prepare written directives regarding your desires for funeral or cremation, memorial services, location of burial, and other special desires.  Provide a copy of the written directives to those who will carry out your wishes.

Advisors.  Prepare a written list of the names and contact information for your accountant, attorney, financial advisor, insurance agent, and other persons who have knowledge of your financial affairs or assets.  Let your family know where this list is kept.

Asset Listing.  Prepare a written list of all account numbers, passwords, and critical information for your assets and liabilities.  For any business assets, assemble all contracts that control or relate to the business. 

Location of Original Documents.   If you have a will, powers of attorney, or other testamentary documents, make sure the agents named know where the original documents are located and how to access the documents.  If you maintain the originals in a safe deposit box, your agent needs to be authorized to access the box and know where you keep your key. 

Asset Titles and Beneficiaries.  Review all beneficiaries and account titles with your family members.  Contact your financial advisor or institution and ensure any person named as agent in a financial power of attorney will be able to access your investments.  The financial institution may require the power of attorney be executed on a form issued by the institution.

Tangible Property.  Prepare a written list outlining any distribution wishes for tangible property to particular persons and keep the list with your testamentary documents.

Open discussion with your loved wills will facilitate efficient management of your affairs and implementation of your personal desires. This article is not intended to replace legal advice applicable to your situation and should be used only for informational purposes. 

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