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?

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  • I highlighted this paragraph in the book What Matters Most


     The double trauma sucker punch - the knowledge that I had screwed up some of the things I could have controlled, such as legal stuff, insurance, and money - made a very hard time even harder. Control is perhaps merely an illusion, except for all the things you can control.

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    • MXMOM ugh, yeah, that's rough.

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  •  Next step (step 2)

    pick one thing from your list that you can do with minimal effort. Preferably it can be done by the end of the day. Then do it. And cross it off your list. There, didn’t that feel good?

    to recap - Step 1 is grab a notebook and write a list of everything you need to get in place in the event you die (especially unexpectedly) or are critically injured. You don’t need to do any of these things right now. Just get the tasks out of your head and onto paper where you can address them. Don’t worry about the steps. Just brain dump. 

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  • This is an awesome challenge. I just picked up the "Peace of Mind Planner" which is a fillable book to out all of the information someone would need to know upon your passing: bills, banks/credit cards, vehicles, pets, passwords, all that jazz. I started filling in the basics the day I got it. I'll definitely check out the websites mentioned; thanks for starting this!

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  • MXMOM said:
    Next step (step 2)
    pick one thing from your list that you can do with minimal effort.

    ✔️ Done. Prescription Print-out requested and picked up (for both of us). I have scanned them to Dropbox and put the paper copies in the Important information drawer. 

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  • where is everyone?  Did you finish one quick task on your list? Shout it out here. Haven’t started yet? What is holding you back? How can we help? 

  • Step 3. This one is a toughie. Who is your executor?  
    Usually spouses name each other. Which is simple if the spouse is also the beneficiary or co-owns everything. But you also need to name someone else in the event you and your spouse die together or you die and your spouse is incapacitated.
    Now who? In a family with adult children they are usually next in line. Simple if there is one adult child. Can be more complicated if there are several children. Even more complicated if these children are from blended families. 

    Some parents think one child will be jealous if they are not named so the name all the children. Yikes don’t do that. Then everything will need to be agreed between and signed by all the children. Especially difficult if they live in different places

    I don’t know about you but I don’t think my 25 or 21 year old children are capable of doing what needs to be done. They always call me for help with this kind of stuff. But they can’t call me if I’m dead or in a coma. 

    So who? A sibling? How old are they? Where do they live?  They may not be the best choice. 

    I have no answer  I am going to have to go through my list of people  Whoever I pick I am going to put compensation in the will  because this is a job  or they can use the money to hire a professional to walk them through it  

    here is an article I found to be a good read on being an executor


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    • MXMOM Yeah, this is a really tough decision which has no 100% correct answer for all families. The main thing is to keep your will updated as situations change - as I mentioned in my comment below, my mother was my father's named executor and I had to have her and my brother agree to vacate the entire will in order for me to take over that duty. 

      Re: compensation, I think it is a really excellent idea to include that in the will; also, check your jurisdiction's regulations for executor compensation. In the U.S. at least, some states have it included as either a percentage of assets, and you may want to specify if the compensation in your will is in addition to the area law.

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  • Hah! My budget's name is actually "Get Your Sh*t Together" (without the asterisk...) as inspired by that website. I have been working through my father's estate for the last 2.5 years and it was in very, very bad shape; think two hoarder properties, a decade of tax evasion, and a 30-year-old will that left his estranged wife with probable early dementia as his executor. That last part I had legally revoked, and the taxes are still in progress (BUT AM SENDING TO THE ACCOUNTANT THIS MONTH!!).  If anyone is also left with a sudden and untidy executorship and needs advice on how to begin sifting the wheat from the chaff, feel free to reach out. 

    Anyway, I'm not ready to participate in this challenge for myself as I'm pretty booked up with his estate, and have no children or spouse to consider at the moment. But this will (pun intended) be helpful to check back on while helping to set up my mom's estate and then my own. And know this: having your budget and tracking accounts up to date in YNAB (and making sure that password is included in LastPass) already gives your future executor a huge leg up. I made a separate budget for my mom's accounts to help her figure out a retirement budget and work with a financial advisor, but also partly so I knew where all of her bank and retirement accounts are located so I could contact them when needed. If you don't want the financial institute in your account name, you can add it in the account notes... and even add the beneficiaries in case you want to quickly see where you might need to make changes as needed. You could even add life insurance policies and such as tracking accounts, so they know quickly where to go to help with funeral expenses.

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  • I am still struggling to decide who to have as my executor in the event hubby and I go at the same time. Although TBH I don't even think hubby could handle it on his own. But this challenge is very timely as it is-

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    • MXMOM Is a professional/paid executor something you would consider? I've no idea how to find one, but apparently that's a thing....

      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 6 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Fuzzball Meows yes, that is something that gets done apparently at an enormous cost, usually a percentage of the estate. But I wonder if there are flat fee ones. More things to research.😣

  • I wrote a will already, but I'm still wanting to change it.  I'm not a big materialist type person so I just don't have a ton of stuff to give to people and I'm trying to figure out what sort of things I can leave to family that would be special and thoughtful.  For now I decided to leave the house to my fiance, since we live in it together and I don't want him to be having to move if anything happens to me.  I am leaving my retirement accounts to my nieces through my sister, for now.  My life insurance policy goes to my sister for them also, apparently,  but I will probably change that next year when open enrollment happens.  


    I read the book "Being Moral".  Well, actually, I stayed up till 3AM reading that book the other night, it was so interesting.  I'm contemplating how I want to deal with the issues he discusses in there, but it's harder to do when you don't know what the situation is going to be.  A lot of the stories in that book were about people who were sick with a specific thing and made their wishes known after they knew what the medical issue was.  

    What I need to do:

    • Get each other's family's phone numbers so you can call in case of an emergency and label them in your phone.
    • List of all accounts, account #s, passwords, etc to give to the beneficiary
    • Information for lock to house and how to change the codes
    • list of recurring bills
    • List of my important contacts, phone numbers
    • Info on life insurance policies
    • List of work information
    • Last will and testament (DONE-ish but I want to find some thoughtful items to give to people)
    • Power of Attorney
    • Should I put my house in a trust? 
    • Double check all my direct beneficiaries on accounts
    • Check life insurance at work beneficiary DONE
    • Health Care proxy and decide what I want to do under different situations of sickness and write it all down somewhere
    • Living Will
    • Letters to my loves ones, or letter to one loved one about burial and funeral
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  • Roll call!

    Are you following along with this challenge? Are you just thinking about it? Check in with a reply to this post and let me know where you are at.  Technically the challenge is on Step 3.

    To recap

    Step 1 - get a notebook and braindump 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. 

    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. 

    Step 3 - choose an executor. Yikes this one is driving me crazy. 

  • Step 3 update - I have an executor!

    I was chatting with a longtime friend about who her executor is. It’s her sister (after her husband). Hmmm not helpful. Only child. I explained about the boys not being ready. She offered to be the executor until they are ready. And then she would help them if needed if/when I change it. She is awesome at this kind of stuff. And no, I didn’t chat with her hoping she would do it. I was totally surprised. 

    Password manager selection is still ongoing. I have narrowed it down (I think) to Bitwarden and LastPass. I am leaning toward Bitwarden because it’s free and for the most part I am only getting it for ease of communication in the event of death or injury. I could just keep a list but then I have to remember to keep that up to date.

    I borrowed Being Mortal book. Not really for planning but just for interest. 

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  • 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 the next step. This can be a handwritten list in your workbook or a spreadsheet or word document. 

    To recap 

    Step 1 - get a notebook and braindump 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.  

    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. 

    Step 3 - choose an executor. Yikes this one is driving me crazy. 

  • Hi MXMOM and team. Good topic, and good motivation to progress my own mental list on this front. I'm a young'un here in Australia, but I have a little daughter, am a single parent, and have now a mortgage, so even more important that these things are dealt with. 

    I already have a current will and Power of Attorney, but number of things to do still. Not that I plan to be dying any time soon!! I do have a horror of dying unexpectedly or having something happen, and leaving my kiddo and my parents without things in order.  

    My list: 

    • Write Advanced Care Directive (for the horribly complex discussions that families have to have if I'm not dead)
    • Compile passwords, list of assets and debts, utilities and other daily things for access
    • Double check insurances to make sure all are up to date and able to cover all expenses
    • Write directive for the two dogs
    • Write wishes for funeral, organ donation (take all my useful bits, I won't need them)
    • Letters to loved ones
    • Investigate funeral and grave costs to see if I can pay off ahead of time

    Will probably think of more, but that's a start. 

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  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    3. Passwords - made no progress here. Have to find time to sit down with P to evaluate options, since he has some computery knowledge stuff that may help with decision making. I suspect if we don't have this done by end of the weekend I'm just going to throw a dart and pick one, because I don't want to test drive a bunch, I just want to have things set up to *work* when needed, which it looks like any of the options can do.

     I am starting to lean toward just write them down on a piece of paper.  For the purposes of knowledge sharing in case someone (including hubby) need it. The iOS password manager works well for me and I am a techie person and this has been freaking annoying. They are all basically the same.  I recommend the free Bitwarden if you still want to do something technical but I really think that just sitting there in hospice, you guys could create a list on paper (or in excel or notes or something). Then print and put with your wills. 

    Trigger warning 


    This must be so difficult for you. I was reminded today about how sudden all of this can be. In a work meeting, I asked who the new coordinator is because the one I have dealt with (and love dealing with) left on maternity leave in May.  We were in Microsoft Teams so I typed "who should I talk to because firstname lastname is away?". Someone typed back that she had died. What?!?!?  Surely just someone with the same name. So I clarified that firstname was pregnant. And sure enough, it is her. She died during childbirth from an unexpected complication requiring an emergency C section.  The baby is fine so the poor husband is trying to navigate a new life as a father while dealing with this.  It just confirmed for me that this is important stuff because you never know. 

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 23 hrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Another thing that happened today was an article in the Toronto Star titled This Ontario man died without a will. A Toronto police officer is charged with stealing his $800,000 estate.

      Quick summary - man is single, no kids. Died in 2017 at age 77. Has a half brother (with whom he is not close) who got a call at that time from the government saying he is the only known beneficiary as there is no will. By the time they call back, he is told they found a will and you're not in it. Half brother says ok and goes on with life. Then he gets a call in 2019 from the police saying that there was a fraud and collusion between a police officer and an employee of the trust office. Makes you wonder how often they (and others) have done this. 

    • Holy moly, MXMOM - my eyes just got bigger and bigger as I read through your last two posts here. I appreciate your diligence in keeping this challenge up and running. It's all so important.

    • Marisa Yes. Thank you for finding the words. 

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