Do Your Kids a Favor: GYST (Get Your Stuff Together)

We know you hate thinking about death. But as your parents grow older and you have to deal with their deaths, you’ll grow an appreciation for having all your important information together and available for your loved ones.

Planning for your end of life (or your parents if they need assistance) and making sure that information is available in one spot will be one of things your loved ones thank you for over and over again. It might seem like a complicated process but there are great checklists available if you type the search term “end of life planning checklist” into your favorite search engine.

Once you have a checklist in hand, get started! Figure out what you have in place and what still needs to be accomplished. Then make a date with yourself to accomplish each checklist item.

Think you have it all under control just because you have your will and health proxies completed? Think again. Because of how much we live and interact digitally, you have to think about your digital estate as well. For example:

  • Have you thought about how to shut down all your social accounts?
  • Do you have a list of memberships, utilities, and/or credit cards that automatically withdrawal money from your bank account?
  • What about access to online accounts such as Paypal and Bitcoin?
  • How about your online photos – do your loved ones have access to them?

While you are filling out your forms, figure out where you want to store your end of life plans. Want an online option? You can store your documents through free web services such as Cake that will provide you with end of life checklists, store your documents securely (and allow you to download them when needed), and share access to those documents with designated important people. Want to keep your documents nearby? Put everything into an encrypted file on your computer and make sure loved ones can log into your computer and into the file.

This is also a great time to look into a password manager such as LastPass that can allow you to share pertinent passwords with your executors.

Another option is to print everything out and store it in a binder with your loved one’s name on it. Show them where the binder is so they know where to find it when they need to.

If you have kids, pets, or dependents of any kind, you should be thinking about your end of life plans now. Once you get over feeling creeped out thinking about your own death, you’ll actually feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

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