It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning
It’s great to hear from Plan My Affairs subscribers and the types of success they’ve had. Here is a story from one of our younger subscribers:
Dear Plan My Affairs,
I’m a 46-year-old single mother of two teenaged sons. I’ve done well for myself and my family. My career continues to build and so does my pool of assets. I began using your personal affairs organizer, because I wanted to make sure that if I were hit by a bus tomorrow, my family would have everything they needed to make final arrangements and begin to take care of themselves. I initially thought it would be scary thing to dive into, but It’s not. It’s so easy and I love that it’s online and readily editable. I really do have peace of mind knowing that all this important information is at my fingertips–and will be at my family’s fingertips—when needed.
Why did I take this step? Just over a year ago, my mom passed away, unexpectedly. She was only 70 years old. She was able to take care of her affairs, so I didn’t really think to question the location of insurance papers, how to determine the value of her artwork, where the title of her car was or what friends she’d want at her funeral. We lived in different states until her last year of life, and chatting about these things seemed morbid, so I didn’t do it.
Fast forward to April 9, 2015. That was when I walked into the mortuary with my brother to arrange her funeral, and what a struggle that was. I didn’t know if she was opposed to being cremated; however, that’s what I decided on, because that’s what my brother and I could afford. What kind of urn would she want her ashes buried in? Who would she want at her memorial? What songs should we play? Did she have a favorite poem or bible passage I didn’t know about? I knew her closest friends and our family, but her address book was filled with names I didn’t recognize. I had access to her email account, with email addresses that didn’t indicate the sender’s real name. I didn’t have her login information for her Facebook account, so I wrote a memorial message with information about the funeral and tagged her so it would show up on her page! The guilt, oh the guilt, in never having the courage to ask these questions.
Mom didn’t have a will. There was no home inventory or estate plan. She trusted my brother and I would be able to split her possession, which we did. We also donated a bunch of things we later found out could have been sold for a good chunk of change. She kept every file, bank statement, used checkbook, medical bill, rent and mortgage payment for the past 12 years… in boxes. It took me months to sift through everything and figure out what was important, who would need her death certificate to close out or settle accounts. Just recently, I received a letter from an insurance agent who expressed his condolences and let me know my brother and I would be receiving funds from a small life insurance policy she had taken out decades ago. Great news, although it sure would have helped a year ago.
After all that, I knew I would never want my kids to have to navigate through a mess like that. I’m not quite finished updating all my sections, but I am so much more organized than I’ve ever been. I am so glad to have you all as a resource.
Meredith M., Aurora, Colorado
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