anyone interested in doing a challenge to get our legal/financial house in order?
Over in Journals, I brought up the idea that it might be interesting to have a challenge where we get our house in order legally and financially. And by financially, I don't mean pay off debt, retirement, etc. I mean wills, power of attorneys, etc. All the stuff we need to have in place if we are incapacitated or for when we die. farfromtheusual mentioned the book / website Get your Sh*t Together so something along that line. Or if you are Dave Ramsey follower, a legacy box/drawer. Anyone interested?
Fuzzball Meows said:
I'm finding the worse P gets the harder all this is to think about/deal with.
I can’t imagine how hard this all is when it’s no longer theoretical. Hugs. As for the passwords I say just make sure you have the critical ones (banks and investments and computer/tablet if locked). The rest are not as important.
The iPhone Feature to Turn On Before You Die
Starting with iOS 15.2, Apple includes a way to add Legacy Contacts to your iCloud account that will give friends or family access to most of your data after you pass away. Let’s look at how to pass iPhone data to loved ones, what’s included, what’s not, how the process works, and more.
If you subscribe to Apple News, here is a link to the article in the Wall Street Journal. Or if you subscribe to WSJ you can read about it there.
Aaarrggh! My post disappeared.
My update on where I am in the process.
We are deciding whether or not we need to consult with a lawyer for our wills. Technically our wills are fairly straightforward. I die, he gets everything. He dies, I get everything. But if we die at the same time things could get complicated. The reason is that my hubby has a child from before we got married. It is a sore spot in our marriage so discussing this is difficult. Standard will language talks about a person’s issue (which is the legal term for children) but that includes ALL children. So we have to specifically name our boys in the will and/or specifically write that she is excluded. Icky.
I have done some research and in Ontario Canada (where I live), courts generally don’t change wills to include excluded children. Just for reference, in British Columbia, the opposite is true.
I have been considering leaving some small specified amount to her but then I don’t know if that leaves an open door to contest the amount. I think a better approach would be to set up a TFSA account for a small amount and name her as the beneficiary. That way it passes outside the will but he wasn’t a dick for not leaving her anything.
Here is an excerpt from this article.
Ontario law has an emphasis on testamentary freedom whereby testators can choose how they want to divide their estate.1 Attempts to set aside a will based on a moral obligation owed by parents to independent adult children have been consistently rejected by Ontario courts.2
This seems like the appropriate place to share this information.
I really, super strongly recommend that you make the actual arrangements for what happens to your/your loved one's body before they die. Because right after they die, even if you premade the arrangements, you are going to need to sign legally binding documents. And the likelihood that you will be at your best is generally very small. If you made the arrangements before hand, you don't have to think about it so much and can just compare the new documents to the ones you sign when making the initial arrangement.
Also, make sure you have all the information you need for the death certificate so you're not guessing. Where I am, that means the place of birth of the deceased's parents. Their birth/death certificate or marriage license is probably going to be useful for that information.
Fuzzball Meows said:
(P is expected to still be alive as of 1/1/2022. Not sure he'll be conscious at that point, but alive is all the taxes care about, I think.)
So many thoughts came to me when I read this. Happy that P is alive. Sad that he is alive but not well. Angry that you have to think about taxes at a time like this. Relieved that you’ve considered so many things. Thankful that your journey is inspiring others to get their house in order. Know that I am thinking about you and wishing there were something I could do to help you through this.
MXMOM Katcantoo Yellow Pufferfish Move Light Sound Life SewPurple
Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. And for your participation in this challenge which helped me get as prepared as I could.
MXMOM The place of birth is an additional identifier - instead of using birthdate, for instance. So P is P, born in hometown, married to FuzzBallMeows (Meows) born in hometown, son of D born in hometown and M (B) born in hometown. (The parentheses are maiden names.)
So things I wish I'd done before P died, in terms of planning/getting things set up:
1) Made arrangements for the funeral/memorial service. The location, the person running it, what they were going to say/do, whom to include, whom to *not* include, etc. Whose video thing to use, how to get people info for accessing it, etc.
2) Made arrangements for the mourning period, so that we weren't sending out six dozen emails trying to get all the information to people, and confusing everyone in the process.
3) Made a list of people to inform and/or invite to the various different events. Included in the list who the contact for larger groups should be (e.g., my parents telling their siblings/extended family, P's best friends telling his friends, etc.). Created this list as a contact list in my email, so that I could send one email to everyone.
4) Made plans for where I'd stay afterward, and for someone to pick up my mail, etc. if I'm not staying at home (which I'm not). Apparently there is a flood of mail that comes in after someone dies.
There will probably be more stuff that comes up, but that's the big ones for now. I recommend doing #3 for yourself and leaving it with the will/other instructions with contact information for people, so that if you die unexpectedly, the person taking care of arrangements doesn't have to dig through all kinds of contacts for that.
Here is a (Canadian) website with good information and a blog. Of course, they have a service to sell but I am not recommending that. Just a good resource.
This is from another (Canadian) site. This article is directed toward financial advisors but I found some good general information in it for non advisors.
Update on the list:
Basically, I've talked a lot but not written a lot. On the upside, my mum has her will in order now, and my dad realises his is now out of date. Hasn't written a new one (*head desk*), but he has finally been clear about quality of life expectations, and ICU end of life scenarios.
- Write Advanced Care Directive (for the horribly complex discussions that families have to have if I'm not dead) Only half done. I've had the conversation with my sister, mum, and best mate. Mum and best mate are my executor and back up.
- Compile passwords, list of assets and debts, utilities and other daily things for access Complete
- Double check insurances to make sure all are up to date and able to cover all expenses This took jolly ages, back and forth with insurance company through my superannuation (Aus equivalent of 401k). Now complete, Life Insurance, and Total and Permanent Disability Insurance. I have an existing Income Protection insurance, looking to increase this and put it also through super. Outside of super it remains a tax deductible expense. Not sure which is best at moment.
- Write directive for the two dogs. Again, had the conversation. I actually need to amend my will so that they are specifically covered in costs covered by my estate.
- Write wishes for funeral, organ donation (take all my useful bits, I won't need them). Had the conversation with mum, sister, and best mate. Now to make dot points for them.
- Letters to loved ones No, not yet. This is hard.
- Investigate funeral and grave costs to see if I can pay off ahead of time So, no can do pre-pay for funeral costs, (and the plans look like a rort), but I can pay off a grave ahead of time for about $500. Have put into budget.
I have determined that my scatterbrained way of thinking is going to be an issue for my executor etc. I have information in multiple places (file cabinet, Dropbox, YNAB) and in multiple formats (paper vs digital).
I have decided to get one of those journals (or the page printouts and put in a binder) and create a paper one stop shop for everything. I have been reviewing some of the resources we have talked about in this challenge, specifically Get Your Sh*t Done (GYSD) and journals on Amazon. While the GYSD story resonate with me, I don't know if the checklists are the right fit for me. The basic one is too, well basic. And the comprehensive one covers a lot of stuff I am not looking to include.
I am leaning toward a printable format vs. a bound format because I am sure that the information will change/expand over time and I like the ability to reprint and update rather than cross out. Also, I am envisioning printing out certain things straight from the source and including those as well as copies of physical documents, including some of the info from this challenge. So a basic binder with dividers as well as insert to store additional documents is the way to go (for me).
Summary of estate planning challenge
To refresh this challenge as well as summarize things, I am writing this post. This way people can see everything but not have to wade through all the posts. I will link to relevant posts if there is more detailed information that is useful.
Step 1 - get a notebook and brain dump everything you need to do to get your financial and legal affairs in order. Big or small. Don't worry about doing them yet. Just start the list so you have something tangible to work with. Here's my list for an example.
Here is a list by another person that did this process from a different perspective. At the time of the start of the challenge her partner (P) was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given a short time to live. For her the process was critical and urgent. I recommend reading through her posts because she provides a lot of real life challenges. Unfortunately her husband passed away in December 2021. She made another list of "Things I wish I'd done before P died"
Step 2 - pick something easy and doable in a day from your list. Then do it. Cross it off the list. Do it even if it creates more tasks on your list. For example maybe you have "locate wills" on your list. You know that once you find them you will have to review them and then update them etc. But for now, just do that one thing and cross it off. For example, my first task of my list was to get a printout of all our prescriptions.
Step 3 - choose an executor.
Step 4 - make list of all accounts (retirement/savings/etc.) and insurance policies. List should include institution, account/policy number, contact info, current balance/policy amount, and beneficiary. For now just list who the beneficiaries should be or who you think they are or put a question mark. We will confirm them in a later step. This can be a handwritten list in your workbook or a spreadsheet or word document.
Step 5 - get a bare minimum emergency fund goal funding goal set up and start building it. And if you have an emergency fund already, go through and make sure that it is the amount you need to get you through the crisis period. If you don't have one because you are still paying off debt, I go through a long and convoluted (that's my style 🤪) explanation of why in this post . If your answer is yes, that post also talks about how I determine the right amount of emergency fund to have considering that YNAB philosophy reduces the financial emergencies by funding True Expenses Rule 2 of the 4 Rules
We didn't go any further than Step 5 (so far) but I am going to forge ahead once I have made sure I have completed Steps 1-5.
Throughout the challenge post, there were a number of resources posted that I will summarize here with links.
- Articles and websites
Your Digital Estate
Get Your Sh*t Together website
Get Your Sh*t Together - article about how this started
Clark Howard information about group pricing for burial/cremation services
Jesse chats with Chanel Reynolds, author of What Matters Most and founder of the Get Your Shit Together website, dedicated to helping people navigate the confusing, difficult, and emotional aspects of end-of-life planning.
a good read on being an executor
What happens to airline points when you die
Facebook info on what to do upon death of a user
Unclaimed Property (USA specific) www.missingmoney.com
The iPhone Feature to Turn On Before You Die
- This challenge post.
In addition to the specific items above, there is a lot of good discussion from various YNABers on specific things, their lists, personal experiences, my links to various articles of what happens when this stuff doesn't get done, etc. So I recommend you scroll through and see if there is anything that I have left out that you may find useful and inspirational.
Update on Prince’s estate. Prince did not have a will and left a mess for others to deal with. It took 6 years. Don’t be a Prince.
We have a Living Trust (and wills to move anything into the Trust that's not already there). We donated money to our favorite charities, and made sure our kids and grandkids will be taken care of. Neither one of our kids is our executor - that's a trusted family friend we know won't be favoring one over the other. We also have durable power of attorney for each other because shit happens and we need to know the other person can take care of whatever needs done if one of us is in a coma. We recently bought a tree in Better Place Forests, for our ashes to be spread. The money goes to taking care of the forest and to planting more trees. I think we're pretty well covered.
what happens to your student loans when you die? They’re GONE. At least the government ones are. This is true in Canada as well.
First-time poster based in the U.S. I just happened to stumble on this post and I am SO grateful for this thread and all of you. I turn 40 this year and have procrastinated on getting my affairs in order because it's all so overwhelming. A dear friend's father passed unexpectedly last year without a will so I am seeing firsthand what not to do to my loved ones. I pulled out a black composition book I bought a while ago for $1 and am starting at step 1 brain-dumping my list as I type this. You all have inspired me so much. Thank you!