What Are You Leaving Behind?

Imagine this scenario:

You are about to leave on a vacation. You’re running a little late. Your bags are packed…almost; your passport and id are nearby…you think.

You’ve left a note with the housekeeper, a quick and cryptic message with your cell # in the event of an emergency. You forgot to tell her about the furniture company exchanging your newly purchased bedroom set for one you like even better.

You’ve checked your international coverage on your phone. Scratch that, you didn’t quite have time for that. You’ve got all your camera gear, your IPad is in the briefcase, your…no, it’s too late, the cab is here; you’re running late, you’ve got to get to the airport NOW!!!!

So, what did you leave behind? Oops, you forgot an extra battery for the camera, you forgot your MP3 player, again… You forgot to let someone know where your HIPAA papers are and where to locate key passwords should you meet a medical emergency. You forgot to tell your family when you’ll be back. It’s too late. You’ll text them later.

As you’ve done before, you hope everything will be okay; that an emergency won’t come up, that you’ll be able to clean up your unfinished items later.  I hope so too.

Why do I bring this up? It’s not merely to illustrate a scenario you may have experienced or heard someone you know recount their vexing story to you.  I bring this up to highlight something more.

If something tragic were to happen to you and you didn’t come back from your vacation, what would you be leaving behind that others would have an uncomfortable time sorting out? Who has your most current and signed HIPAA form? Who has access to your key accounts and key advisors? Who knows what you want done with your most personal items?

Have you prepared your loved ones or have you left your stuff here and there for them to stumble over, or race to find before other beneficiaries demand information or the federal government reminds them of its fixed deadlines for estate information?

As a vacation is more relaxing and open to more serendipity when we have completed our preparations for it, so is our life.  When you have prepared your loved ones for your eventual demise, you are leaving them with one of the greatest gifts you can possibly give them. This gift of organization and clear instructions, not found in your will, makes their duties much easier to undertake. A booklet we use is called “Making It Easier for My Loved Ones.” Email irina@focusansustain.com or call us at 425-823-0984 to learn more about this valuable tool.

Do you know of an estate that was a mess because of the lack of instructions to the executor? What were the consequences to the family relationships, as a result?

Do you know or have you heard of someone who prepared their beneficiaries by letting them know where their key information is located and clearly identifying who gets what? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear about your experiences.  There are some outrageous stories out there.

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