We don’t like to think about the reality of dying, much less planning for it.  Yet given the inevitability, and the complexity of our financial lives, preparing for our death is a must.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds Proverbs 27:23

Sadly, most of us are unprepared for the practical realities of the event.  This often leaves our loved ones scrambling to figure out financial details.  Instead of mourning, they’re busy tracking down documents, phone numbers and passwords.

Dave Dies Day

I recently read about a guy named Dave who annually holds a “Dave Dies Day”.  Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.  Instead, he sits down with his wife and goes over where all of the important documents and details are located, and who to call for what.  Simple yet brilliant.  In doing so, he’s proactively removing this burden by having a fire drill so that his wife knows just what to do when that day comes.  What a morbid act of love!

You can (and should) do something similar.  There are lots of great resources out there to make the information-gathering task more simple.  Everplans has several different downloadable checklists and worksheets that can simplify the process.  They also offer a subscription service for $75 which will securely store everything electronically and allow you to share your information with family and friends.

Items to Gather

If you’d rather just compile your own information, here is a list of the most relevant items to gather:

  • Desires for funeral/burial
    • Do you want to be buried or cremated?
    • Where do you want the service to be held?
    • Where do you want to be buried or scattered?
    • What music would you like played?
    • Who would you want to give a eulogy?
  • Access to your financial information (Everplan’s financial account checklist)
    • Where are your will and other estate documents located?
    • List of all accounts
      • Bank Accounts
      • Credit Cards and other loans
      • Investment Accounts
      • Life Insurance
      • Other Insurance (Disability, Long Term Care, Auto, etc)
      • Social Security
      • Utilities
      • Other recurring bills
    • Website login information
      • Put this on a thumb drive stored in a fire proof safe – not a safe deposit box.  Some banks will not allow you access to a safe deposit box until you’ve probated the will which won’t do you much good.  This is something you’ll want to set a to-do to update at least annually as many passwords require updating.
      • Another option is to use an online password manager such as LastPass or 1Password
      • You can also download Everplans’ digital accounts worksheet to keep track of this information.
    • Contact Information for financial professionals
      • Financial Advisor
      • Life Insurance company
      • Estate Attorney
      • HR Department if employed
      • Accountant

Last But Not Least

Once you’ve compiled the information, the last step is to go over it with your spouse or whomever is your executor.  Most of the information should be self-explanatory, but it will let them know that there is a plan in place.  Having a checklist takes the pressure off and will allow your loved ones to focus on what’s really important should something happen to you.  Preparing for your own death isn’t fun, but it’s one of the most loving things you can do.

Remember, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it (even when it isn’t fun), for him it is sin.

If you need any help in preparing your checklist or thinking through any decisions, we’d be glad to help in any way.  Just give us a call.