A few years ago I realized that my children would be "in the dark" as to my finances/taxes/insurance/etc should anything happen to me. And of course, if they have to step in to clean out my home and close my accounts, I want to make it as easy for them as possible. So one month while I was filing my bill statements, I decided to make a list for them.
I wrote down the contacts for my employer, insurances, and retirement so they could access anything that was due to me (them), and then listed any possible accounts that they would have to clean up and close. I typed up a form on the computer, leaving extra lines just in case. There are workbooks in stores and online for this, but my accounts wouldn't fill a book....I'm keeping it simple ;)
For a few years I was quite content that I had done a good thing. Until one day I realized that this information changes....! Each new job changes the contact information for 401Ks and possible employer-held life insurance. A move can be a change in homeowner's insurance policies or mortgages. I discovered that this list is not static. Even though it may stay the same for years, one year can bring big changes.
So now I try to revisit my list as the old year closes to update any changes that may have taken place. I can go confidently into the new year knowing that I've made an unpleasant job a little easier for my boys. And it's an easy way to review my own situation, to see what I need to improve. I've got peace of mind. And they've got a gift they don't need yet :)
This year I've put another "list" with it. I've put photos in one of those dollar-style "Mom's brag books" and written down the "history" of family-related objects so they'll know what has been in the family and any possible story relating to it. Because there will be no chance to ask questions later! In an ideal situation, when I'm rocking away in my ol' rocking chair surrounded by loved ones, I'll be giving away my treasures and describing how they came to end up in my possession. But for now I'll gamble on the cautious side and make sure everything's covered..... ;)
P.S. For those who have another adult who shares your finances, this should be much easier. If you are in an independent status right now, it might be something to explore as a way to review your financial situation. Another form of preparedness, if you will.
P.P.S. My sons have all been told that this list exists, and it's whereabouts. Since that's not high on their priorities right now, I have occassionally reminded them. I'm sure 1:3 should be good odds at remembering ;)
Wishing you peace and prosperity in the New Year!