Life planning, like so many other things, is often harder to begin than to finish. Society shies away from discussing death and its impact on others. As a result, many things are often left undone until it's too late.
In some cases, this just makes it harder for the person tasked with finding and pulling together all the necessary information. In today’s digital age, this can mean assets are lost forever.
Step 1. Start the Conversation
You can't finish what you never start. To get organized and select an approach that feels comfortable, review the downloadable guides and workbooks offered by The Talk of a Lifetime and The Conversation Project.
Step 2. Lead By Example
Don't ask a parent or family member to do what you aren't willing to do or haven't done yet. By leading the way, you’re protecting your own family from the frustrations of handling your affairs without guidance and access, should something unexpected happen to you.
Leading by example also helps you provide assistance to someone who is hesitant. With your newfound experience, it will be easier to show them how to pull their information together!
Step 3. Compile Critical Records
Getting Your Affairs in Order – The National Institute on Aging offers advance care planning advice, a list of “important papers,” and links to related agencies and resources.
Lifehacker – For detailed tips on how to create an “in case of emergency” everything document, including a free downloadable template and data encryption advice.
Everplans - This online life planning service poses a series of questions to help customize your plan, including "to do" lists, resources, and forms based on your state. (Free trial; $75/year)
NOTE: If you are a small business owner or own an online business, you have additional concerns. Discuss this with your real estate agent. They are small business owners too!