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Proactively Organizing Your Estate

Imagine that you have died.  Your spirit is in another plane that can look down on your loved ones although there’s nothing you can do to comfort them during this time of loss and grief, just observe.  In the days and weeks after your death you watch as your loved ones are struggling to find important paperwork crucial to settling your estate, bickering over what should be done with your material possessions and sorting through years of memorabilia.  What you wouldn’t give to take these unpleasant tasks off of their shoulders so that they can simply grieve!

You may think this is morbid and depressing and there’s no question that it can be.  However this exercise gives you an important inside view into what your friends and family may experience when you are gone.  What if you could take a great deal of that weight off of their shoulders?  Of course you won’t be able to lessen the pain they are dealing with but there is so much you can do to lessen the frustration, anxiety and upset they will experience trying to deal with your stuff.

For starters it’s important that the ones who are close to you know where to find the: 25 Documents To Have In Place Before You Die.  That’s just paperwork though!  Go back to the mental exercise of looking over their shoulder at your belongings to better understand what you can do now to ease more of their burden.  One of the best methods of specifying in advance who you would like to get certain belongings is in video form.   Create a video (or have a friend work the camera) of you taking a tour through your possessions while you clearly state what goes to whom.  This isn’t to create a legally binding statement (refer to your lawyer about that) but a verbal and visual documentation of your wishes.  Be sure your closest loved ones have a copy of your video. If you think it’s going to open a Pandora’s box of discontent among your inheritors, leave a copy of the video in a safe deposit box, a fire security box or with a lawyer to be viewed only after you are gone.

Using the same postmortem view now could also help you if you are facing a purging project but just aren’t getting anywhere.  As you think about which of your belongings are important to you, ponder the meaning or purpose they will have to those you’ve left behind.  Include family and friends if you’re having trouble deciding where to start or what has value or is donatable.  Being proactive about your property now can help you leave a priceless legacy.