I recently realized that while my two sons are grown, 25 and 22, my will lists my brother as the executor of my estate. My oldest son lives here in Houston and it has occurred to me that I need to start grooming him to be my executor, showing him where all the important papers are and basically letting him know what needs to be done in the event that something happen to me. Where are keys, deeds, instructions, etc. Then I could release my brother as executor from the estate, which I’m sure would be a relief for him.
Naturally I’m caught up in how to do this. As anyone who has taken this on for a dying parent knows, there are so many details to keep track of and take care of. Just working through my parent’s photographs and film has taken me a couple of years.
I think for me, I will probably start mapping out all the areas that need to be addressed and create some sort of master document for him. Then, when that’s ready, or maybe even while I’m preparing it, sit down and start showing him, step by step, where everything is. In fact, as I’m writing this, it occurs to me to start sharing this with both my sons during the upcoming holidays so that this conversation begins now and they are both aware that at some point, that day will come and we will all be prepared.
Steven Rosen of the Kansas City Star wrote his own article about this as he is in the process of helping his mother into an assisted living community. He is realizing that even beyond taking care of her furniture and estate planning documents, he wants to be sure to cover ALL the bases by creating what he refers to as a Legacy list. This covers all those things I mentioned as well as such things as making sure he gets copies of his favorite family recipes such as the brownies and pot roast he grew up on.
He shares with us a resource he found called The Beneficiary Book by Martin Kuritz which is a fill-in-the-blanks book where you can record important information such as family medical information, burial requests, attorney and insurance information, where the safe deposit box keys are; all those bits of information I mentioned needing to pull together for my own children. There is also an electronic version available online at http://www.active-insights.com/.
Since I tend to live on the computer, I will probably check out the electronic version. I like the idea of a guided collation of materials. I am nowhere near a life changing event such as going into an assisted living home but I believe in being prepared. Life hands us all surprises and I would rather not my kids be the ones having a grounded plan, MY plan, then trying to make sense of a surprise.