Yes, we’re entering the holiday season and under “normal” circumstances, list-making would be an essential part of adding joy (and order) to the season. But this is the year when things absolutely WILL be different.
But let’s not throw out the baby with the “list-making” bathwater. List-making itself can be a marvelous tool to bring to help us reach our expectations.
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 we’ve highlighted major categories.
- Financial accounts, with account #s, approximate amounts and contacts
- Income sources (Social Security, annuities, pensions, etc.)
- Insurance policies
- Estate planning documents
- Tax returns
- Automated payments and inflows
- Important contacts, including professionals, friends and spiritual leaders
- Personal possessions that matter
- Location of key documents(Social Security card, drivers license, passport, etc.)
- Wishes / instructions not in your will or trust
This list shouldn’t take you more than a couple hours to create. Your family will breathe a sigh of relief. So will the companies which make yellow legal pads.