It’s spring now and that means we usually start cleaning stuff. We do it now because it’s starting to get warm enough outside for us to pile our junk out there while we try to get our garages back for their intended use. So while you’re thinking things like “How did we accumulate so many cardboard boxes?” and “That’s where my bread maker is!” I’m going to implore you to do some other type of organizing.
1. Make sure you’ve got your will, life insurance policies, and a list of financials (accounts, approximate values, and beneficiaries) in what can be referred to as a “legacy drawer”. Use a fireproof safe, your giant gun safe, or a desk drawer for this stuff. Just make sure it’s all in one place and that your loved ones know it exists and where they can expect to find it if they need to.
2. Have a family meeting about your emergency plans / financial wishes. If you’re parents of young kids make sure you have a fire escape plan and tornado plan and all that. If you’ve got kids that are old enough talk to them about what happens if you die and what your wishes are. If your kids are all grown up and moved out then it’s even more important to have a meeting with them about your finances and where your documents are. Talk to them about what happens when you die or get sick, make it clear who you want to do what and why and what your wishes are. Be explicit and write it down too. It’s best to be as transparent as possible because this can help avoid all sorts of division and anxiety later on.
3. That’s it. But nobody ever makes a list with only 2 things so this is point 3. While you’re spring cleaning, take some time to stop neglecting some important stuff.