As you have all read, my father passed away two few weeks ago. Unfortunately, he did not have a will or a medical directive, so we have been scrambling to take care of his financial affairs and had to make decisions at the hospital without knowing what he would have wanted. It has made losing him even more stressful. Of course, people die suddenly all the time and they may or not have made any preparations. However, this situation really made it clear to me that I want to have things in better order for my own kids (or my husband if I should pass before him). So I have created a checklist of things you should do to get your own affairs in order for when that time should come.
KEEP UP-TO-DATE RECORDS AND INFORMATION:
◊ Create a Family Control Journal Financial Information page. I have made a record-keeping sheet where you can write down or type basic information about your financial and medical affairs. This page would not include account numbers and specifics, but instead direct a loved one where to find that information and what accounts, etc. to be looking for. Click below to download my blank form you can personalize.
◊ Check that your filing is up-to-date. I am horrible about doing this, but I realized how important it is because we have had to sort through piles of paper from my dad’s personal and business life. He had a system started, but very few things in each folder. That is my goal for this summer – to catch up on my own filing!
DECISIONS TO MAKE WITH YOUR LOVED ONES:
◊ Who will take care of your children (and/or pets) in the event that something happens to both you and your spouse (if you are married) or you (if you are single)?
◊ Who will handle your finances (this may be the same person or not, depending on if you have kids)?
◊ What medical directives do want followed for your own care?
WORK WITH A LAWYER TO GET DONE:
◊ Will – There are many helpful online tools if you are unable to hire a lawyer. Check out this article “Prepare for your death online: 20 helpful tools” for links and descriptions.
◊ Power of attorney
◊ Medical directive
OTHER THINGS TO HAVE IN PLACE:
◊ Life insurance
◊ Important Phone Number list – See my post “Family Control Journal: Important Phone Numbers” for creating this. Note: I updated this form today to include a few more contacts. If you have already downloaded this, you may want to do it again to get the revised file.
DATA AND DIGITAL ACCOUNTS:
◊ May of us have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc. The article “How to prepare for death in the digital age” includes information on how to handle our online identities after death.
* NOTE: If I have forgotten anything that should be on this checklist or on the Financial Information page, please let me know so I can correct it.