When she reached her 70s, mom made a list of everything of value in her house. The list was on pages of yellow legal paper, penned with her (ahem) unusual cursive.
As she grew older, and a bit more forgetful, she made the same list several more times, and tucked away each copy in a different drawer. After she passed away, we uncovered them. My sister and I kidded about it, but mom meant well. She made our lives easier when we went to settle her estate.
Do you have a list? If you don't, get started now. You'll have the confidence that your wishes will be honored after you are gone.
Let's get more specific about what needs to be on the list. It's a lot more than personal possessions. Below I have highlighted major categories. We have more detail if you want it. Just email me and I'll send a copy.
1. Financial accounts, with account #s, approximate amounts and contacts
2. Income sources (Social Security, annuities, pensions, etc.)
4. Insurance policies
5. Estate planning documents
6. Tax returns
7. Automated payments and inflows
8. Important contacts, including professionals, friends and spiritual leaders
10. Personal possessions that matter
11. Location of key documents (Social Security card, drivers license, passport, etc.)
12. Wishes/instructions not in your will or trust
This list won't take you more than a couple of hours to create. Your family will breathe a sigh of relief. So will the companies which make yellow legal pads.