What Does It Mean to Have Your Personal Affairs in Order?

How to Get Your Personal Affairs in OrderBy Meg Miller, CSA

Catherine’s elderly mother suddenly died. As the eldest of six, she had agreed to be her mother’s executor. Catherine felt equipped to handle everything because she had copies of her mother’s Trust and Will in hand and a lawyer to rely upon with questions and estate matters.

What appeared to be straightforward, expanded as she had to plan the funeral. Many decisions needed to be made and they would need to wait until her siblings flew in from all around the country. For this occurrence alone, the following had to be chosen: coffin, flowers, songs, cards, service details and a discussion as to whether her mother would have a traditional burial or would be cremated.

With her sibling’s help, she executed what was necessary to proceed for the funeral. She was then faced with having to clean out a childhood home of 50+ years of artifacts, heirlooms and who knew what. What appeared to be an uncomplicated event unfolded as most estates do – into a full project of managing people, places and things.

What would have helped Catherine, her mother, and siblings prior to death was to work with an Estate Planning Administrator. This person works with individuals, couples and families to talk about all the details that are a part of the estate, which is more than the Trust, Will and Financial and Medical Power of Attorney forms.

Areas that are discussed and worked on fall into the following categories:

  • Approach – this covers the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the steps to take to execute the entire estate in a smooth and timely manner
  • Gathering – this involves a full collection of all necessary documents, not just the four mentioned above
  • Team – having all necessary professionals to be relied upon with their contact information
  • Contacts – Having contact information of all other people such as family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, volunteer community, etc.
  • Schedule – Setting up and working with a timeline
  • Execute – this includes the finish touches of getting the entire estate in place. Having a blueprint ready to give to your key people or executor helps them know clearly what you want when the time comes

No one wants to be a burden, so having your personal affairs in order is an excellent way to give you and your family peace of mind.  Meg is a local business owner and Certified Senior Advisor.  Her business is www.criticalnextstep.com




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