How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

89 Comments


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_planning

A dreaded process lots of us put off or avoid is our last will and testament. Let’s face it, without one, you leave behind turmoil and probate. You don’t want to line lawyers’ pockets and leave your survivors in limbo for an indeterminate length of time.

Get a nice wide binder and a big package of sheet protectors. As you collect and fill out your personal information, you’ll now have a place to keep all your documents properly. A file cabinet with individual and alphabetically filed folders sounds organized, but someone must search through them without a clue about what they need. The other famous solution is the old shoebox under the bed mindset. Be nice. Think twice.

Your bank or financial planner may supply you with a Personal Record Keeper or facsimile. This is a must-have. I love mine. Your financial history will be in one place saving your loved ones tedious hours or days searching for necessary documents. My only complaint is this isn’t electronic. I much rather type and print off a neat and clean record instead of what I have now. My handwriting is sometimes shaky if I write more than my signature. I suppose the reason is too much keyboarding and not enough writing, plus I have arthritic thumbs.

morgueFile free images

morgueFile free images

I spent an hour typing all the information from my booklet, then noticed it is copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part. Instead I will give you what I remember off the top of my head. Do try to obtain a Personal Record Keeper of some kind. Filling one out has been a time-consuming undertaking because I had to dig and search for information as I filled in the blanks, but the effort is worth it. Doing this, I can imagine what a favour this is for any family. If I had to search high and low and I know my house better than anyone, well… I had no idea how interesting I am. A lot of numbers are associated with my name and I’m not talking about dollars either. Bank account numbers, passwords, codes, and on and on. I am truly amazed and a little amused. I look back now and see this all like a movie reel.

You need all your information organized before you prepare your will. If you take the time to plan ahead, you’ll be surprised how much time and money, and going back and forth to the lawyer you’ll save with these documented details at your fingertips.

NOTE:

We’ve all heard of the Will Kit. It is legal here but lawyers will tell you people don’t fill them out properly. If you use a kit, make sure you get it notarised to clear up any doubts now. What will peace of mind cost you? I’ve heard it’s around $50.00 or so.

Some of the details about your life:

  • Family information: all names of members plus individual information
  • Names of providers: heat, hydro internet, papers, etc.
  • What you own (savings, real estate, etc.)
  • Benefit plans and relevant information
  • What you owe
  • Insurance plans (what kind(s) and relevant information
  • All banking formation and relevant information
  • Advisors (financial, etc.)
  • Any businesses owned and relevant information
  • Wills, safety deposit, passport etc.
  • Birth certificates, funeral arrangements, safety codes, passwords
  • Computer passwords

As well, check out something called an Estate Planning Checklist. This if for Canada (but must be similar).

http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/resources/educationalPrograms/ft-of/Pages/financial-planning-4-8.aspx

^ _ ^

I’ve had some questions from some of you when I ended the Dust to Dust posts that warmed my heart and made me smile. Nice to hear anyone of you hopes all is well with me. It is.Than YOU. The kick in the pants finally came, to accomplish what I’ve been putting off way too long, because I’m taking a lovely long trip end of next month. I decided this is the time to get my life in order, but that’s another post.

Relevant Links:

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/dust-to-dust/

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/dust-to-dust-part-2/

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/dust-to-dust-part-3/

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

89 thoughts on “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

  1. We had a recent death in the family. A ‘young’ man who didn’t expect death. Funny, few of us do. But none of us can avoid it forever. There was no will. And it was a difficult enough time for his family without the struggle of figuring out all of his unfinished business. Your advice is perfect.

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  2. Excellent article and good info, especially about the notarization. I got one of those kits but didn’t think about the notebook with sleeve protectors for the stuff. I made several copies, had notarized and my lawyer has one, one is in my safe deposit box, one in our safe here, and a couple with a family member and a friend – all in a sealed envelope with my name across the flap and sealed with nifty sealing wax and my papa’s signet. I’m sure with this series, you have helped a lot of people in many ways. thank you!

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    • Thank YOU but I feel this is information that no-one want to give you for FREE. Why not? Information is where it’s at but someone always has to take advantage before they share any good information about anything. Grr. Basic information.
      I was prepared exactly what my booklet included. If I hadn’t turned it over and noticed the copyright, I would have reproduced here what everyone needs to know.

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  3. This is such valuable information. We are in the process of getting our Will written and there is so much to organize. This list will come in quite handy.

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    • I wish I could have published the booklet. It covers everything. DO visit your bank or financial planer and ask. Life will not only become easier, you will find a sense of fulfillment–a great feeling.
      I still have some blanks to fill in but the overall effort has been satisfying. 🙂

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  4. Here’s my plan: tell my kids. They better take notes or they’ll wish they had. Is that mean?

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    • I know what you mean, Jacqui. Heck, my problem with mine is, are they LISTENING?
      Sure their lives are busy, but if they cannot hear me when I am standing in front of them, what will happen when I am not?

      Maybe leave them a itinerary. Ha ha. I will have one of those in my binder. *can’t stop giggling* because I can and my daughter will have to comply of have me haunt her*

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  5. Great advice and guidance. I am delighted to hear the impetus for the posts! Happy travel planning. 🙂

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  6. Before I went into a dangerous surgery last year, I wrote a will. I used the Will Kit and had it notarized by three ladies in the HR department at my job. It was very emotional, everyone at the table was in tears by the end. But, as one of the gals said, What happens in HR, stays in HR. Obviously, I survived but, to this day, my husband has been unable to read my will. Congrats on tackling this tough but necessary part of life.

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    • When I was young, I was more of a shadow, maybe a scared shadow. Now I don’t care and find I want to share because I can. What I hate, this little booklet is premium secret information. Why? Why can’t everyone get this FREE? This is a beautiful document. Had I been the author, I would (and do) want to share it with everyone. Let’s face it, this is helpful to EVERYone. 😀

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  7. No Will = big trouble. Great post with beneficial advice!

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  8. When we prepare for our next journey, we allow our family and friends to grieve in peace. A wonderful post. Thank you!

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  9. Good info. Better prepared and things/money to go to loved ones than court fees in probate. Thank you. Have a good weekend, Tess.

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  10. I have the basics like the will and medical power of attorney, stuff like that. It’s in my freezer. I figure if there is a fire it should be okay and the peeps who need to know have been told where it is. I keep telling myself to do the rest but tomorrow never comes does it. I think now that it is tax time and I have to sort through all that it will be a good time to start…or not.

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    • I had to laugh about your ‘cold storage’. The freezer was our vault when I lived at home. When I married, the cash gifts were banked in the freezer for safe-keeping over the weekend. I had forgotten all about that. Thanks for reminding me.
      I know about putting things off. I’ve started this process but am not quite finished. I’m doing it in fits and starts because I really hate paperwork. 😀

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  11. More great info. Thanks so much for this series. You’re covering topics many of us never think about. After all this work you deserve a fabulous trip!

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    • Thank you, Carrie. I DO believe it will be fabulous. Haven’t been away for close to 20 years. I’ve been comfortable and had no interest in travelling anymore. A friend of mine complained her regular travel friend, a long time friend, was having all kinds of problems and was stuck. I asked an innocent question, “Where is it you want to go?” Then, a little voice said, “I’ll come with you.” Surprised the hell out of me.
      😀

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  12. Very good info, particularly since I am determined to be organised this year. It just occurred to me that while we have taken the time to do a will and left it in the safe hands of our lawyer should anything happen to us, the boys aren’t going to know who our lawyer is.

    Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to reading all about it 🙂

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  13. Thanks for the heads up on this as gruesome as it may seem. My husband and I had wills made long ago when we had to go overseas for a while. They need updating of course. I didn’t think about Internet passwords. I only have a couple that have anything to do with money but still important. Here in the US the will kit is popular and it’s probably what we will use but have a tax lady notarize it for us.

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  14. I’m waiting to hear about the trip!

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  15. I add the same: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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  16. Good advice. I did actually do a will about 4 years ago, and I went through a lawyer because I’d heard too many stories about homemade ones having stupid errors in that end up causing more problems. My paperwork at home isn’t in very good order though, you’ve made me realise I need to sort that out too!

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  17. My parents obviously have there’s , my brother and I are executors. Mr. S and I saw a lawyer to update ours, but he stuffed around for 2 months so we left it, thankfully he didn’t charge for what little he did do. We really must get into gear. It’s a comfortable place to be in, when you have the serious matters in hand, so that loved ones don’t have a barrage of paperwork to tend to..saves arguments too if it’s in black and white. Can’t wait to know where you are holidaying 🙂 xx

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    • I found this process (which isn’t exactly completed) cleansing somehow. I love my binder: Neat, orderly, a piece of work. 😀

      When my mom died, although she had important papers in a metal cash box, I noticed sifting through papers tedious. As well, an article in the paper in the past year suggested the binder and mine had been empty until recently.

      Cannot say anything about the trip yet. All will be revealed soon: 24 days of excitement. 😀

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  18. Great post but getting off that subject…the trip…where, what…I am excited for you, can I carry your luggage?

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    • You don’t have to carry the luggage. I bought new with wheels but you can meet me or come along. 😀
      All will be revealed soon. I haven’t been on holiday in 17 or 18 years. When I bust out, I do it in a big way: 24 days away from home. 😀

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      • Oh, now this is exciting, a mystery holiday (to us) and a nice lengthy one at that; can’t wait for the unveiling. Down here in Oz we tend to travel (if going overseas) for 1 to 2 months at a time as we are so far away from everywhere. From where I live at the bottom it takes a five hour flight just to clear our shores so we make it worth our while :). Coming to Oz?

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  19. Tess: Thank you for another informative post. As always, you do the subject at hand due diligence to get your affairs in order. You’ve left nothing unexplained and your determination to complete the task should make everything so much easier for your daughter.
    Both of my parents had wills but my brothers convinced Dad not to have mothers probated and of course we know how well that turned out. I know my Dad had a will and once again, my brothers turned that into a shamble. I’m much smarter about the subject of wills as I move forward and it will not be left in the hands of family members to make decisions about how mine is executed. Thanks for stepping forward with this blog.

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  20. Thanks for the list you included in your post. A great guideline for anyone to consider!

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  21. Another important post for those who need guidance during their darkest hours.
    Well done.

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  22. I admire you for preparing so well.

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  23. Sounds like you’re really getting organized.
    I’m slightly ashamed to confess I’m even putting off organising my papers for the tax return…

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  24. I’ve got a will somewhere – trouble is, even I’ve forgotten where. I want to revise it so I make sure my pets are catered for..but I’m going to live forever so I guess, why bother! (just kidding)

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    • I don’t know where my first (and last) one is. When I divorced 30 years ago, I made out a will. Since then everything has changed and I don’t know where it might be now because my lawyer went on to be a judge and then she died.

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  25. We have estate planning guides here in the US also. My oldest son is my executor, he has everything and whenever I update something I send him a notarized copy. I keep everything in my bank box, which he has access to. It is always good practice.

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  26. We’ve been dealing with probate for two years now. It’s so important to have a will. I hope everyone takes your advice.

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  27. Thanks for your wealth of info on a subject most of us would rather not talk about. You have certainly been doing your homework on this subject. I look forward to your happier writing in the future! 🙂

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  28. It can be hard to face but a will is essential to avoid any difficulties and confusion for those left behind. It’s also extremely important to update a will as circumstances change. This is something some people often forget.

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  29. Excellent post! I’ve made scans of most of the important documents – it gives me that digital record you mentioned. I also keep some documents in the bank safety deposit box and others in a home fire proof safe. We also have a list that we update once a year – it is a summary of where everything is, what the major items are worth, and how we would like to see certain items in our estate distributed. Things in this document change from time to time, which is why they aren’t part of the will.

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  30. Such great advice! It’s never fun to deal with, but it can mean so much when the time comes. James’ Mom died refusing to do a will. Not fun. ~Terri

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  31. Yes getting your affairs in order is the safest way to deal with who gets what, who has the health proxy 1st, 2nd and so on. I tried to get mom to fill out her will before it was too late, but death has a way of sneakin’ up on folks. It is something that mom felt was courting death. I was the administrator so there wasn’t much hassle. But when dad died OMG it has a way of bringing the worse out in relatives in my case in-laws. I have taken care of my estate, such as it is before I get to the Last Exit when dealing with cancer. Great post! Peace Out! JBC 😎

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