When something happens to you, where do they start?
On a sunny spring morning, my husband and I relaxed on a train crossing France, enjoying the scenery, our books, and cappuccinos. After 10 days of vacation, we were still, serene, and looking forward to time with family.
At the same time, at our route’s end, my daughter was increasingly concerned about our whereabouts and arrival. To my (later) chagrin, I had forgotten to forward our itinerary…Continue
Added by Melanie Cullen on May 14, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Routinely, but sadly, the news reports of residential emergencies—a fire in a family home, regional fires destroying dozens of homes, tremendous storms and flooding. Some of you reading this have experienced home disasters firsthand, living through a frantic evacuation, severe loss of home and personal items, and the uphill climb of rebuilding. All this can…Continue
Added by Melanie Cullen on October 20, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments
How will they access my bank and brokerage accounts?
When you die, or if you are incapacitated, your loved ones will need to access your financial accounts. In the case of your incapacitation, someone will manage your finances, including paying bills, depositing any checks, managing necessary financial transactions (e.g., purchases, deposits, sales,…
How will your loved ones track those “invisible” bill-pay charges?
Over time, I have set up automatic payment for several of my bills:
• My monthly mortgage bill is paid by a recurring, automatic charge (direct debit) to my checking account. Two insurance premiums are paid the same way.
• Other bills are automatically charged to my major credit card:…
Added by Melanie Cullen on February 25, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments
How will getting organized now benefit you over time, time after time?
When my mother died, I was awash in questions, grief, tasks, decisions—and all of that layered on top of my already-busy life far from Mom’s home. I decided then that I will not put my loved ones through the same ordeal when I die. I went home and…Continue
While you’re organizing your records and considering loved ones wrapping up your affairs, you may wonder how to plan for your pets and livestock. What will happen to them when you die? Who will take them and care for them? Here are some tips for planning care for your animals when you’re no longer able.
Today, while you have the time and you’re…
Added by Melanie Cullen on October 24, 2009 at 1:00pm — No Comments
If something happens to you, who watches over your health care, finances and other important matters?
No matter your life circumstances—whether you’re young and raising a family, or elderly and caring for yourself—you have plenty of responsibilities. For example, you make decisions about your health care (selecting doctors, choosing treatments) and handle financial…
Added by Melanie Cullen on August 21, 2009 at 10:00am — No Comments
What is it—and why does it have such a bad reputation?
We’ve all heard of probate, and it seems we all know it’s “bad” and to be avoided. But what is it really? And, given your circumstances, should you make arrangements to avoid it? If so, how can you do that?
First, an overview of what it is.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process for…
If something happens to you, what should—and shouldn’t—you have stored there?
You can rent a safe deposit box at your bank for storing just about anything you want. There are no federal laws, and few state laws, governing the content of safe deposit boxes. Your bank’s contract with you is the best source for identifying any content restrictions.
Who has access to your box—and when?
Access to the box is controlled by you. You can be the sole…Continue
If something happens to you while your children are young, who will care for them?
It takes time and energy to get your important records in order. Some of the most important—yet most difficult—steps are those regarding care for your minor children. The paperwork isn’t difficult, but the decisions may be hard. It’s hard to imagine your own death, especially while your children are young. It’s also hard to select a guardian; you can think of pros and cons to any choice.…
Whether you use Get It Together or handle the job on your own, there are a few basic steps to completing and maintaining your personal planner.
1. Get started! Set aside one- to two-hour windows—sufficient to be productive, but not overwhelming. If using…
Added by Melanie Cullen on February 3, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments
First, let’s consider the process—preparing important documents, collecting related records, storing them securely, talking with loved ones and maintaining your personal “planner” (the name I’ll use for your compiled records). You can prepare your planner yourself, relying simply on the tips in this column. Or you can turn to Get It Together (…Continue
Added by Melanie Cullen on February 3, 2009 at 10:30am — No Comments