Heir Game Plan
An Heir Game plan is a practical road map to be followed i nthe event of your death. It helps make the stressful transition caused by death easier for heirs.
After you create an Heir Game Plan, test it – or at least review it with at least one member of your family.
If it helps, ask each family member to make a similar plan so the things they care about can be continued as smoothly as possible. If nothing else, you’ll all get more of an appreciation for the things each of you do.
Add to the plan as life evolves.
What To Include In An Heir Game Plan
Assign different tasks to different people.
- Review your List of Instructions which includes everything needed to keep your financial and personal life functioning. Divide chores according to ability. For example, even if your house is left to your spouse, one of your adult children in another city may be the best person to oversee maintenance of the house.
- Decide who will be in charge of your funeral and memorial service, if any. If you don't want to pre-plan your funeral, at least choose someone to take charge.
- Speak with the person to be sure he or she agrees -- both to take on this job, and with your thoughts about the subject.
- Let the other family members know who will be in charge.
- If you've been in charge of the family finances, include instructions on how to continue. If your spouse or heir isn't used to handling finances, take the time now to educate the person, or leave guidance describing how to learn.
- Let your heirs know who will be responsible to fulfill any contractual obligations you've entered into -- both on your side and on the side of the person with whom you entered into a contract.
- If you haven't provided for how your personal possessions are to be divided, now is the time to do it. There are more arguments over possessions than money. For suggestions, see Preparing Your Will.
- To prevent identity theft, assign to specific heirs the following jobs:
- Immediately put a hold on your credit cards until a death certificate is available, at which point the account should be closed.
- Notify the credit bureaus immediately so no new accounts can be opened in your name. See Credit.
- Put a hold on your accounts with brokerage houses, and banks -- particularly banks at which you have a line of credit.
- Notify Social Security immediately.
- Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to not issue a drivers license renewal.
- If you live alone: Identify who will cancel television and other recurring expenses as well as any daily deliveries such as newspapers (and ask for refunds as appropriate)? Who will arrange to have the mail forwarded, and who will pick it up until the forwarding arrangement starts? Bills and financial statements will help your heirs find your assets and debts if you haven't kept good records.
- Who will pay the ongoing expenses until money is available? For instance, mortgage or rent, utilities and other necessary bills. It would also be helpful if credit card balances were paid off rather than be subjected to such high rates of interest.