I started to put my affairs in order the day I heard that Prince had died. It had been bad enough when David Bowie passed on, but Prince – now that was a little too close to the bone.
As Lifestyle Change Coordinators and Senior Move Managers, some of the first things that NE Solutions discuss with our clients is – “is your will up to date?” quickly followed by “and what about your enduring powers of attorney and guardianship.” I had been a little too guilty of not practicing what I was asking others to do and I needed to change that.
Now I could have just done what I needed to do and not told anyone, but I needed my kids and my partner to know, it was for their benefit after all. Believe me it’s an interesting conversation starter – “Look there’s nothing wrong with me, but just in case something happens – this is what I am doing…”
Once you’ve had that conversation, start where you feel most comfortable. For me it was:
Superannuation beneficiaries: My children are now adults and I am no longer married to their father, so that was an easy change to make.
And because a divorce voids wills, I am going to need a new one – this is still on the list of things to finalise especially as 2 out of my 3 executors have pre-deceased me, but I know who to call to discuss starting that process. Now there’s a thought – who should I leave the cats to?
The most difficult area for me however has been my personal documents. I don’t mean the usual birth certificates and insurance policies although these are very important; I’m talking about my personal, personal documents. I had a lifetime of diaries, journals and notebooks. Some of the entries had become fodder for blogs while others have become content for books, but a lot of the pain and heartache of living an interesting life to date which had lived on in the pages – I didn’t want to share. So one Friday night I sat down and went through every page in every book and removed the content I did not want someone else to see. As the pile of papers grew, I found it easier to let go of stuff, and in the end, I threw away more than I had intended to – including book outlines from projects I will never go back to, bad poetry and song lyrics. I am still writing, but I am more conscious of what will remain.
And talking of skeletons in closets, what about your digital footprint? If your digital footprint is anything like mine – it’s going to be huge, but what happens to it all? Well nothing if you don’t pass on your logins and passwords – it will just sit there lurking in the ether, popping up on random anniversaries to remind people you were around once upon a time. Is that a bad thing? Well only you can decide that one, but sooner or later there will be changes.
- Social media sites may eventually go out of business. I was a member of Friends Reunited for instance. While it seems unlikely that the behemoths such as Facebook and Instagram will go under, nothing is guaranteed – especially in the digital realm. But if you want to know how wide your personal footprint is – google your name (and nicknames) you might be very surprised at what you will find.
- Personal websites, including business ones, have a great deal of valuable equity within its digital pages. If you want your work to continue after you have passed on, you should ensure someone is willing to take on the running and funding of the site. If you would prefer not to have your website disappear into the darkness you need to make provisions for its upkeep.
- E-books: I have a number of e-books listed on Amazon and other sites, while the royalties aren’t huge, they are sent to a bank account on a regular basis. If you don’t want your family to lose out, you will need to tell someone what to do with it all.
When it comes to living a rich and full life, you will have many areas you will need to look at, these are just a few of mine I’ve given consideration to so far – and the work is continuing. Just remember, as we cannot know for certain when our personal deadlines are going to be, it might be a good idea to dust off the skeletons and get your affairs in order while you can make the decisions you need to make.