Sunday, October 10, 2010
Most of us don't like to think about our eventual death or incapacitation - which partly explains why so many people don't have a will or the other legal documents we all should have. (If you're one of those people, please go see a good estate attorney. If you live near me, I can recommend one.)
But as I've said: Where there's a will, there's still more to be done.
Would someone helping you during a medical emergency be able to give the hospital your medical history and list of current prescriptions? (Trust me; there's nothing like being in the emergency room, filling out the forms, and trying to remember which hip Mom had replaced, when she had that heart valve surgery, etc.)
Would someone be able to log onto your computer? Would someone know how to care for your pets? Where to find the circuit breaker box? (Mine's hard to find.) Who to contact about your situation? What you'd like in your obituary? The list goes on and on.
If you'd like to pull all this information together, there are a number of products that can help. I'll mention just a few of them.
1. Exit Strategies: A Plan and A Place Your Your Estate Information
Jeanne K. Smith is a professional organizer known as an expert in the estate organizing field - I took her training class - and this is her workbook. It's not the fanciest-looking one around; the spiral-bound workbook looks like something typed up on the computer and copied at the local copy center. However, it's the most complete book of this sort that I've seen. You can get a spiral-bound hard-copy version, or you can get a CD to create a Microsoft Word document on your computer (PC or Mac).
2. Putting Things in Order
This nicely-formatted journal is designed to capture much of the same information as Exit Strategies, except it has no section for medical information. If you've captured that information elsewhere, this book might work fine for you. There is no electronic version.
This bright-red binder also captures much of the information in Exit Strategies, except it has no section for indicating funeral/memorial preferences, obituary preferences and such. It also seemed to lack pet care information, and computer/internet information. Some of the type on the forms was a bit hard to read, with dark-orange type on a light-orange background, for example. The binder comes with a CD which works on both PCs and Macs; Microsoft Word is required.