Planning for the inevitable can be lengthy and laborious work, but some tasks have an outsized impact on estate administration. Here are eight things you can do now that take only minutes but can save hours of work and frustration for your loved ones in the future.

Set Up a Password Saver App

One of the simplest yet most effective steps you can take is setting up a password saver app. These apps securely store all your usernames, passwords, and digital keys in one place, accessible through a master password. Your master password will need to be accessible after you are gone, such as by sharing with your spouse or keeping a copy wherever you secure your highly sensitive documents. Setting up a password saver app ensures your estate administrator and chosen loved ones can easily access necessary information without the frustration of guessing or resetting passwords. Password saver apps, such as KeePass, Dashlane, and LastPass, offer varying levels of service and security. Research to find one that meets your needs.

Compile a List of Online Accounts with Digital Assets

In today’s digital age, many of us have valuable digital assets, including social media accounts, cloud drives, digital photo albums, email accounts, and cryptocurrencies. Take a few minutes to compile a list of these accounts and any special instructions. Ensuring your estate administrator or loved ones are aware of these accounts can prevent the loss of valuable memories and assets. And don’t forget to save your login information in your password saver app.

Write a One-Page Explanation of Memorial Preferences

Your memorial preferences are deeply personal and communicating them can prevent a lot of confusion and stress. Write a one-page document outlining your wishes for your memorial service, burial, or cremation. There are even simple fillable forms available for free online that can help you structure your directions. Detailing your preferences ensures that your loved ones can honor your wishes without second-guessing or disagreements.

Compile Important Papers

Compiling important papers might seem daunting, but even a single, outdated statement for each account can be incredibly helpful. Focus on collecting (note the task is collecting, not organizing!) at least one document for each of your assets, such as bank, retirement, and investment account statements, property tax statements, policy cover sheet, etc. in one central location and let your estate administrator know where to find them. These documents will act as breadcrumbs, leading your estate administrator to your assets and making the administration of your estate much smoother.

Communicate Your Plan

Open and honest conversations with your loved ones about your end-of-life plans, including your estate plan, health directives, and funeral wishes can be uncomfortable. But communication heard directly from you provides clarity, context, and reassurance to loved ones. Take a few minutes to write out several bullet points of the most important things you want to convey. This will help you narrow your topics and get the conversation going when you’re ready.

Plan for Pets

If you have pets, make sure those who will handle your affairs know about them and can quickly arrange for their care. Write a letter with any special instructions regarding their food, medical needs, and daily routine. Ensuring your pets are cared for according to your wishes can provide peace of mind for both you and your family.

Create a Contact List

A comprehensive contact list can save your estate administrator and loved ones a lot of time and trouble. Include names, phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses of important contacts. Even having one form of contact information for each person is immensely helpful. This list will make it easier for your family to inform and coordinate with everyone who needs to know about your passing.

Use a Checklist for Essential Household Tasks

Creating a simple checklist of essential household tasks for your loved ones can provide guidance and reduce the burden during a difficult time. This checklist can include steps like contacting a lawn care provider, which utility accounts are paid monthly or quarterly, which day the recycling is picked up, how to operate the generator in a power outage, etc. Having a clear, step-by-step guide ensures that nothing important is overlooked. This is particularly important if you are the only person handling bill pay and key tasks for your household.

By taking any of these eight simple steps now, you can reduce the time, effort, and stress your loved ones will face after your passing. These actions, while quick to complete, can have a meaningful impact and ensure your estate is administered as smoothly and quickly as possible, with peace of mind for you now, as well as your loved ones later.