We build your MY LIFE IN ORDER book to reflect those things you want your family to know – including as few or as many elements, as you wish. Each element can be mixed and matched into one convenient binder, which can be customized by style and color. Within that binder, we can create a tab for a copy of your Last Will and Testament and supporting documents even though you may have a separate Living Trust Estate binder.
MY LIFE IN ORDER, is an extension of your formal legal documents that bring a more personalized dimension to family instructions, personal property inventories and capturing family memories. Once you begin the process, you are always free to add, over time, to your booklet since your full booklet need not be assembled all at once.
Detailed Personal Property Inventory
Room-By-Room Inventory – For items that are significant, either through their value, history or sentimental meaning, we will include a detailed inventory your family can use in the distribution of these assets or for eventual sale. Short descriptions of the most significant items could include purchase price, date of origin or other factors will also be included, if available. Even with detailed personal property lists for insurance furniture items, rugs and objects are rarely listed but considered in the blanket policy.
Piece-By-Piece Inventory For Jewelry – This is significant, even if appraisals or lists exist for insurance purposes, because such lists fail to note history or sentimental value of specific pieces. We will list a sentence or two describing the history of the piece, which can be particularly meaningful to those who are bequeathed such items. If no appraisals exist, basic descriptions are often helpful so family members can identify costume pieces from more valuable items and let value help determine the distribution process.
Distribution of Assets
Where to Sell Your Property - Families are rarely aware of the best resources available to liquidate certain items such as collections, fine oriental rugs, antiques, some jewelry items or even clothing. Listing suggested or researched sources and contact information makes liquidation stress-free and helps ensure a higher price in resale.
Financial Facts – A page or two listing the details and/or location of each bank account, safe deposit box (and their contents), vehicle titles, insurance policies and reverse mortgage information, should that apply make access that information painless. Contact name and phone number along with the account number makes this an easy reference source for family members assigned to manage such details.
Location of Important Papers – Where you keep your trust documents, bills, taxes and other such documents can also be listed on a simple sheet or two. We can walk you through a basic list of documents that would need to be located should there be creditors with which to settle or other issues pending.
Password Log – For your bank accounts, cell phone, computer and other key accounts detailed in this binder your passwords will also be listed so your family can access them when needed. YOUR LIFE IN ORDER will provide a form to fill in and keep private within your binder.
Note: Any appraisals that exist could be included in your book in the front of back folders, or in clear plastic page covers – along with safe deposit key(s).
Family Memory Sheets – Most individuals have family members whom their children may have met but did not know well. You may have even recounted a story or two about those individuals whom you treasured most. This section allows for you to share anecdotes about each of them so their memories will live on. Family members cannot repeat funny or touching stories about your family if they don’t know or remember them.
Significant Moments in Your Life – Most individuals rarely write a book about themselves and most others aren’t interested in reading such a document, anyway. However, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren may be interested in the highlights of your life that were most memorable to you. Key memories that you remember with pride, humor or humiliation can be great reading, decades later! Long after a person is gone is when family members wish they had known those individuals much better.
Critical Health/DNA/Family Facts – If you are one of those people who sent away for your DNA profile about your ethnicity, this is the place to put that document. Or, if you want to share some family health history that may be important to others, this is the place. Some may want to begin to construct their family tree. With all the focus to day on Ancestry.com, it might be nice to leave behind a place for your children to begin that process.
Personal Video of You – This could be as simple or complex as you would like. The length and complexity determines the price and we use only professional broadcast producers/creative and art directors in the process. It may be just you talking about your childhood, your life and what life was like in the “old days”. Kids are always fascinated with such details – especially those “5-mile walks in waist high snow to school” stories. Our professionals will help and know how to ask questions that solicit unrehearsed, spontaneous and fresh responses.
Funeral Wishes – This is not a form with blanks you fill in. This section is written in your own words about what you really want and absolutely do not want for a funeral or memorial. Besides the ceremony or lack of one, we could also include favorite scripture quotes, favorite songs, individuals you might like to speak or officiate and even where you would want your ashes scattered (or kept) if you are cremated – every detail that would be important for you to include.
Obituary Facts to Include – Kids never remember the facts correctly so make it easy for them by listing the names of surviving relatives (with correct spelling), the place you were really born, where you went to school and other facts you might want included in the obituary they will probably want to write. Save them the agony of digging through boxes, calling relatives and trying to piece all this together at a time they will be overstressed and emotionally drained.
Obituary/Funeral Photo(s) – This is particularly important to women. It is always a good idea to identify a photo or two you prefer be used in the newspaper, posting online or in handouts at a service. Your family may use it or not, but this gives you a chance to make a decent final impression.
Elements for a Memorial Video – Many family members want to put together a photo memory video of their loved one. To take the pain way from leafing through 70 or more albums, you might select the 80-120 photos that capture your life, in advance. They can select from those. A list of songs that mean a lot to you (and why) is also a nice place for them to begin.
People to Notify of Your Passing – The likelihood of your children thinking of the person to contact in groups or associations to which you belong, lifelong friends who may not live locally, others who would want to know but you may not be close to, is remote. Save them the pain of rifling through electronic directories, old phone numbers, business cards and handwritten notes. A simple list of names and contact information and whom they might notify is very helpful to prepare in advance. We help you remember all key people who would want to know of your passing and record them.