After you’re gone, will your loved ones know how to handle your affairs? Will they know where to find your important documents, such as your will? Will they be able to make sense of your finances? Putting these affairs in order now can better prepare your survivors during an already difficult time.
Organize Your Documents
The first step to putting your affairs in order is collecting assorted records, certificates and other paperwork in a secure place. You’ll also want to write down names and phone numbers for any friends or business associates who could be helpful (like your attorney, accountant, insurance agent and the executor of your will).
To help your survivors find these important documents, fill out a Where My Assets Are (VO1848) form. Review this list and update it as needed.
Talk to Your Loved Ones
You may not feel comfortable discussing your death, but all your preparation won’t do any good if you keep your wishes a secret. Once you’ve collected your files and put together a list, let your potential survivors know where your documents are and provide them with copies of your asset list.
Discuss your finances with your loved ones, including your children, if any of the money matters involve them. Explain your NYSLRS benefits (such as your death benefits) and let them know how to report your death to NYSLRS. They can complete the NYSLRS Report a Death Form or call us at 866-805-0990. Death benefits cannot be paid until we have a certified death certificate.
Be sure to also discuss your funeral and burial preferences and let your family know about any arrangements you have already made.
Other Steps to Take When Organizing Your Affairs
You may have already taken care of some of these steps as part of your estate planning, but it never hurts to go back and check to make sure they still reflect your wishes.
- Work with an attorney to prepare a will or trust.
- Review your beneficiary information in Retirement Online and make sure we have the correct contact information for your beneficiaries.
- Consider advance directives, such as a durable power of attorney, living will, health care proxy or do-not-resuscitate order. If you have minor children, you may wish to name a guardian for them. If you have a child with a disability, consult a professional who can help you navigate Medicaid and Medicare.
- Keep your loved ones apprised of any changes to your situation that may affect them.
Read Getting Your Affairs in Order and A Guide for Survivors and share this publication with your potential survivors. The second half provides information for your survivors and explains what to do and who to contact if a loved one dies.