We all find ourselves at one point or another saying, “I’ll get to it tomorrow” or “I don’t want to deal with that right now.” Days pass, weeks slip, and months fly by. Before we know it another year has passed and we still haven’t dealt with some of the most important decisions in our lives. Sure, it’s easier to deal with the day to day aspects of our lives because those items require our immediate attention. But thinking beyond the immediate can be helpful to not only us, but to our family as well. One of the most common topics of procrastination is estate planning. It makes perfect sense — who really wants to think about how your life might end, what should happen to your belongings, or what type of care you want should you face illness? They are all daunting thoughts that are uncomfortable. Nonetheless, the planning is necessary and the sooner you make those important decisions, the better you’ll feel.
Here’s a list of important questions to consider. Hopefully they will spur you into action:
- Have you met with an attorney to procure a will, living will, trust, or deal with matters regarding your estate? If it was years ago, keep in mind circumstances might have changed and it’s a good idea to update these items periodically.
- Have you made or provided any instructions for your memorial service? With so many details involved, removing the guess work for family and friends is ideal.
- Have you made a list of any collectibles you would like distributed among family and friends? Emotions can run high during these times; therefore, assume nothing. Make a list of those items including furniture, china, silver, etc. and indicate to whom each item should be distributed. Digital photography can be an easy way to document these items and alleviate any confusion.
- Are there collected memorabilia, papers, writings, photos, etc., regarding family genealogy details that need to be passed to a family member or added to your will?
- When is the last time you organized your collection of photos? It might be time to consider having them transferred to new media sources for easy sharing as well as to ensure their quality is not diminished by wear and tear.
- Are there other items in a safe or safety deposit box that need to be collected and kept for future distribution?
- Are there some items you want to donate to charity or simply discard? It might be a good idea to consult with another family member who is familiar with such items and their value before disposing or donating them.
- If you’ve made all of the arrangements above, have you given copies of the documentation to your family and lawyer?
Remember the purpose of all this organizing and planning is to ensure your wishes are followed and any conflict or misunderstandings are avoided. With everything documented, when the time comes things will run smoothly and your family and friends can cherish your memory.
Take a load off your mind and say goodbye to procrastination today!
Research & Community Education