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It's one thing to have prepared your estate documents. Kudos to you if you have. (Only 44% of adults have a will.) It's another thing if they are cluttered all over the place and no one knows where they are.

Losing or misplacing your documents is a big estate plan mistake!!! Why go to all the trouble of creating these documents when they can't be found?

You can walk out onto the street and get hit by a bus tomorrow. There are no guarantees in life. If you do nothing else to prepare, organize all of your documents in one place and let your survivors know where they are. More than that, make sure that the documents include account numbers, passwords, names of your advisers and financial institutions (and contact information), and if your documents are in a safe deposit box, location of the safe deposit box and key!!!

Ideally, create a document/guide that includes a list of all the elements of your estate plan, where they are located, and all financial contacts. Personally give this document to your survivors and walk them through everything they need to know. They will be so grateful.

NOTE: Typical estate planning documents are a will, living will, health-care proxies, powers of attorney, names and contact info for financial advisers, lawyers, bankers, insurance brokers, accountant, and account numbers.

Assuming you/your loved ones have estate documents (will, living will, health care proxy, powers of attorney, key contacts),

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