While we’re busy crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s for dead people, how much time are we giving to the paperwork of the living? Our own estate planning rather than preservation of the estates of the deceased.
OK, so I’m sort of organized. I’ve put all my passwords, card numbers and serials in KeePass. I carry KeePass with me on a flash-drive every time I leave my house. At least every time I leave by car. That’s most of the time. First chink in armor. Start counting your chinks.
I have all (all?) my financial data on my hard-drive, backed up to other drives and online at Mozy. There’s also some text notes to my executor about this and that. There’s a flash-drive put together just for him. If he can find it.
I keep all my legal papers (Will, insurance … um … can’t even remember what all’s in there) in a single zipped pouch with the word Legal tacked on the front. It’s obscured by a pile of other books and binders. Really good. If the house goes down in a mudslide (I live high up on the side of a mountain so I always think that’s the most likely scenario … although the electrical wiring is a little iffy too) there goes all my carefully filed paperwork. Well, what used to be carefully filed paperwork. It’s gotten a little chaotic. My methods have deteriorated into open-pouch-dump-in-paper.
It’s time for a review. In the past 3 months I’ve had to change my credit card twice. First, because I lost my flash-drive and second time because I left the card in a gas pump. That’s just one measly credit card and the inconvenience of it nearly did me in. People, we’re talking about all your cards and all your important papers, and all your hopes for your future security.
Here’s what I don’t understand about how my mind works. I’ve spent thousands of hours searching for, scanning and filing papers on dead people. If you hang out at the Legacy Mailing List, you know the kind of minutiae people can get into over there about their dead people. So, I don’t know why I find estate-planning the most boring subject on the face of the earth. Ok, here’s a few of my former thoughts on the subject:
- I’m just another no-one from nowhere, who cares?
- I don’t have enough money or property to make a dent in anyone’s life.
- Just dig a hole and throw me in, geez, does it have to be so complicated?
When I turned 50 I finally, and belatedly, thought even if I didn’t feel like it, it was time to get it together with my personal papers, if for no other reason than consideration for the living. Someone has to deal with you and your junk when you’re gone, or you and all your junk when you’re only halfway gone. So, if not for yourself, do it for them.
If you want to get it together once and for all, and know you’re there, Estate++ is a secure online system for organizing all your important documents and directives and having them available for downloading and sharing as needed. Your account is neatly divided into sections for each thing you need to do.
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You can set user-permissions on documents for read-only, upload-only and download-only. If you don’t even know where to start, it’s all laid out to show you. There’s a Preparation Guide as well as a page of video-tutorials that will take you through it step-by-step. If you can spend a few minutes a day chipping away at it, in no time at all you’ll have your life in order. Take a free trial of Estate++ for 30 days and see how much better you feel.