Live Your Legacy. Our tagline is intended to inspire people to find balance between enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow. To reduce nervous apprehension about the future and empower all of us to enjoy the time we have right now, in this moment.
Aside from taxes, we all share the inevitable transition from living our legacy to leaving a legacy. When that time comes, someone will be entrusted to carry out your final wishes.
How well have you prepared them to carry out this often stressful and thankless responsibility?
Given our first-hand experience, we want to help you get organized in 5 days. For yourself, and those left behind. You can do it—you must do it—to prevent headaches for yourself and those who will step up to make decisions on your behalf. Each day revolves around an area to tidy up. The questions below are designed to move your mind in the right direction. Whether you like color-coded file folders, a digital notebook, or matchy-matchy containers to store your items is up to you.
Remember, this is not an exhaustive list because that would be—well—exhausting, and we don’t want that. This list was compiled from friends and clients entrusted to carry out a loved one’s legacy. We just want to help you get started!
Day 1—All the Things: Personal Identifying Information
- Organize and locate estate documents, birth certificate, social security card, citizenship papers, passport, etc.
- Will someone know where to locate these critical documents when the time comes?
Day 2—Keys to your Vault: Usernames & Passwords
- Are all your usernames and passwords noted? Does someone you trust know where to find them in an emergency?
- Are your personal and professional emails and accounts intertwined? If separate, will someone be able to access each of them?
Day 3—Take Inventory: Assets, Liabilities, and Belongings
- Do you have a coherent list of personal belongings, assets, and liabilities? Will someone else know where to “look” when the times comes? Will they have to hunt?
- You know, Buttonwood Wealth creates a Financial Planning Canvas for just this purpose.
Day 4—The Easy Stuff: Beneficiary Titling
- Review and update accounts eligible for beneficiary titling or a Transfer on Death (TOD) designation. Think retirement accounts, insurance policies, investment accounts, bank or savings accounts, etc.
- Beneficiary or TOD titling will make the transition seamless while likely avoiding probate.
Day 5—The Not-so Easy Stuff: Estate Documents
- Can you locate estate documents? Will those listed in these documents have access to them? These documents typically include a will, power of attorney, medical directive, trust documents, etc.
- Has anything in your life changed either personally or financially in the last 5-10 years? Have these documents been updated to reflect these changes?
Admittedly, we get more excited talking about living a legacy than leaving one. Nevertheless, we see first-hand the stress and anxiety left behind for others to clean up. Organizing personal affairs and final wishes might be one of the final gifts you leave behind. And who knows, this process may help uncover something you’ve been neglecting, or even forgotten about, that can help you get back to focusing on the here and now.