I am working on updating my will – not that I’m expecting I’ll need it anytime soon (our mom lived until age 92-1/2, one of her sisters lived to be 100) but I want to know that I’ve tried to think of everything. I visited my attorney yesterday and the funeral director today. And here is my guidebook.
Here’s the table of contents:
They have thought of everything and I have it completely filled out and only will need to update it as needed, right down to new passwords and deceased pets.
I always say that if I had kids I’d let them take care of the details but….no kids. And as the funeral director said to me this morning – he’s had kids say no, they don’t want to decide on funeral arrangements, close accounts, sell the house and more so just because you have kids doesn’t mean all the loose ends are tied up.
Did you realize that you not only need an executor but you also need an alternate executor? That person will have to find homes for animals that might still be living (I have promised not to get any more￼), clean out the house as well as the other buildings and dispose of all possessions, sell the acreage and close my estate.
I am going on a campaign of starting to clean out now. The problem with a big house and a quilt shop is that I have room to keep it all! That’s not a good thing because there’s always room for more. Not funny really.
I’ve had the best time on the hunt for things that I liked to collect but I can’t do that anymore. I like the “renting from the thrift store” plan best but I’ve stayed away from my favorite store for months now.
This is just food for thought – my thoughts right now.
And for a funny picture to close this post – Becky’s husband, Tom, got new jeans! Haha!
Wow!! Becky’s husband must be pretty tall!! 😉. Or is Becky really short?? Maybe jeans need to be shortened??
Remember. . . Asking a quilter to mend is like asking Van Gogh to paint the garage. . .
Peggy S – Tom is tall, Becky is short BUT you know how jeans look so much longer when just held up and not actually on the person.
I have a pair of gray pants that I bought some time back – like one or two winters ago! I need to shorten them and I just hate doing that so I don’t wear them, of course! Gppd thong that ups said that as I really do need to do it!!!
Join the crowd!! I’ve been going thru stuff for almost a year and it is really interesting. Getting rid of the clothes wasn’t bad except the good coats and suits, etc are left. When I can’t decide what to do next, I sew!! Perfect. In the meantime, I am making progress and now have some good spaces to store projects. There is a lot more to do, but there isn’t a rush. Maybe things in my house will each have a place instead of a pile. You’ll probably be good for March Madness.
Mary, make sure you take your computer, etc to the house BEFORE you have knee surgery. Also a sewing machine and 2 or 3 projects are good, too. And a good book you’ve been wanting to read. Old quilting magazines and pattern books are very interesting, too. Amazing how things have changed.
Then enjoy watching the snow from your pretty room with all the windows. The cats and dogs will keep you company. We will all be thinking about you and your recovery.
So here’s a question Mary, did you get that book from your attorney? At first I looked at it and said… “What?!!!” “Who came up with such a morbid title?” But then… wow, the table of contents makes me realize what a mess you could leave behind! Just those ongoing monthly bills like cell phones, how to stop a company from billing? And cable tv, etc etc.
Another thought provoking post, Mary. Thanks!
Carol at Pin Oak Quilting – not from my attorney. I bought this book for $14.99 at a Hallmark Store several years ago. It is published by Peter Pauper Press, Inc. it is NOT a legal document but should be left easily accessible in your home for the person who picks up the pieces.
Thanks, Peter Pauper is about right! You know I won’t forget it! I laughed to see your next volume…. Swedish Death Cleaning! Get yourself some Swedish fish and enjoy the read, ha ha!
I, too, was wondering where your book came from! I have been trying for several years to get things in order. I have aging parents and my sister and I are both pretty certain we have enough already! My Mom has done an amazing job of getting their finances in order, so I am trying to follow suit. My kids have made it clear they are not interested in much of my “stuff”. That makes things a bit complicated from the standpoint of pre-planning. Plug away at it!
You have surgery coming up along with the holidays. Take gentle care of yourself!
I think it’s a great idea to plan for the future. It’s an emotional path we all must consider, very emotional.
On the bright side…use the new frixion pens. It’s easier to update!
I’d love to see Becky’s husband in those pants. What a picture.
First of all, I love the design on the cover of your book! Would make a fun graffiti quilting design! It is hard to figure out what to do with all the “stuff” because it’s all good stuff! But if someone comments on an object I have, and if I don’t use , or need it, I give it to them! I have a friend who says, “Givin’ while you’re livin’, is knowin’ where it’s goin’.” It’s always good to make plans for the future cuz you just never know….
Letting go of “stuff” is very freeing.
Important subject. One that is hard to think about but necessary. I just love the picture of Becky with the jeans! He must be one tall dude! Merry Christmas everyone! We have a little bit of snow on the ground and the temperature is supposed to go down the next few days. I don’t think the snow will stick around until Christmas though. Almost ready, just a few more things to get. Can’t wait to get back to normal! Jan in MA
Mary, you have made an amazing decision in regards to your “final” arrangements. I was the executor for a very dear friend that passed away 7 years ago. When I accepted the position, I was basically going to deal with her quilting supplies and quilts because she didn’t trust her husband to handle that job. Well, sadly to say he passed away a year before her. She had no children of her own and her mother and only sibling lived in Sweden. I had the daunting task of selling her home and all the furnishings, her car, and her quilts and quilting supplies. She did not have pre-made funeral arrangements, is I had to take care of that. Her mother was 95 at the time and in poor health and her sister and brother-in-law were not able to travel. It took me a year to close out the estate (including filing the final tax return). I’m not complaining, it just wasn’t what we anticipated. Her husband had heart issues and she had cancer. I’m still working on her projects because I promised her I would. Not looking for pats on the back, but I admire the fact that you are planning.
Thanks for sharing the “after death” planning book. For the past few years I have been slowly purging and getting my affairs in order. That said, there is still quite a pile of paperwork to cover all the areas. I was planning to get a red folder marked: In Case of Emergency/ Read this first. Now I am going to try to locate the book you mentioned (or something like it) and put it in the Emergency folder as well. My lawyer has been great. I have sent my kids letters periodically that keep them informed of any changes (financial, health etc). They (the kids) are spread around the Midwest and are more than reluctant to discuss the issue of my mortality (they plug their ears and hum a tune). So, I will continue to try and make the process as easy as possible for them, when the time comes. Thanks for getting the discussion going on such an important topic. Good luck on your next knee surgery and also to Connie as well. Have a Merry Christmas!
Husband & I had wills made & paid for funerals & written instructions made for survivor so many years ago. There were still details (small) to be tended to, but made things so much easier when he passed away. The first year I functioned on autopilot. Had decided would make no major decisions about anything for 1 year, and I didn’t. This year did probate his will & tend to all that entailed. Have appointment in January to revise mine as attorney suggested I do so. Also putting ranch in a generational trust with son as executor until he names another. All finances are POD to him or granddaughter. 1 child/1 grandchild. Knowing all is in writing/handled is a worry I don’t have, & that feels good.
Nikki M – I wish I had that son to help me!
Thank you for sharing this book. I want to get one and also get one for my dad. It would be so helpful not to have to worry about all of that information when the time comes. Sorry I had to miss seeing you at New Hampton at Quilter’s Window!
Mary, this is so smart! My dad was a small town attorney and he totally believed in pre-planning. Very late one very cold, snowy night, the mother of one of my friends came to our door. Her husband was in our small hospital with a ruptured appendix, but he wouldn’t go into surgery until my dad wrote his Will. Of course, my dad went and wrote the Will. Luckily, the man lived for many, many more years. It is so important to be prepared. You can also do a Living Tryst so everything moves automatically to your spouse or children or whomever. I am working on weeding out, too. My husband is a foot taller than I am so his jeans look like that. Funny😃
Trust!! Not sure if a tryst would be appropriate—lol
Where do I get a book like that?Actually, I would like two books like that.One book for me and another one for my husband. I really like your newest book.There are several quilts in it I would like to make.Have a very happy Christmas.
mary, you have done a great job of pre-planning. my dad did the same thing with directions for where to find most everything. they also had a living trust. everything went to my mother, naturally, who would not let go of anything in the house. products of the 1930’s and very poor. then she got the worst symptoms of altzheimers. my sister had to be put on the trust (which knocked me out of being executor, was okay). it will take all of us to clean out the house. it’s been two years and still tons left to do. i had put all the household bills on automatic payment after my dad died (mother had no clue). My mother also expected all of us to take her possessions and care for them. none of us has a house large enough to do this. we are all over age 55 so we have our own things. it can be a real mess. my kids aren’t interested in my things either – except a sewing machine and a vehicle. priorities you know. thank you for telling us where you got the book. i’m off to see if i can find it. take care of yourself. patti in florida
You have plenty of time to enjoy having things in all that space, but it can be a great excuse to purge things you no longer love! With all the great stuff you have, you would have a huge crowd at the sale!
Mary, you have a good attorney! We had our will redone 5 or so years ago and our guy didn’t go into that much planning but clearly it’s necessary! Thank you for sharing this info. I could really relate to everyone’s comments and very grateful for them—and you!
I just googled the book and found several stores that carry them. Barnes and Noble, also Walmart. Who knew? I would love one for my husband to fill out for me. I live in fear that if he should go first, I would not have a clue as to what to do in some areas of our life. He is a retired CPA and has just done it. He tells me things, but nothing really sticks and nothing is actually written down. The book would be like a roadmap. Great idea, Mary.
Congratulations on being organised Mary,we have just updated our wills etc,a major job as husband has mild dementia and a hoarder.Hard to get rid of his clutter and keep the peace! Happy Christmas,best wishes, sandy
Good for you Mary! I don’t think I’m a morbid person but I like the name of that book. It’s so easy for survivors to have all those details taken care of. My dad has all of his affairs in order as did my husband’s parents. We have a living trust so no probate or executors. I’ve been trying to get rid of stuff too but it’s hard. I’ve told my kids to definitely close out my Facebook account!
Enclosed in my comments is a great link………………………………Thanks for posting this. It is such an important subject as we get older. We spent quite a while with our lawyer recently trying to square away everything. We have a disabled son who must be considered so it was doubly important. I recently downloaded a terrific book that talks about this subject but indicates it is NOT just for us “old folks.” ( https://www.nextavenue.org/case-swedish-death-cleaning/ ) Since I have Kindle Unlimited (as an obsessive reader) I was able to download the book free on Amazon but I make break down and purchase it outright.
Beth Laverne – THANK YOU! I’m ordering this book right now!
I have been trying to get rid of stuff for years now. It’s amazing what is up in the attic! I wonder why it is so hard to let go of things. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Thanks for the book idea!! I’m on the hunt to find it !!
Have a blessed Christmas and a good New Year!! Keeping you and Connie in my prayers.
I just lost my mother 1 week ago today (still struggling with accepting this). I had taken my mother and father to an attorney in 2012 when my dad first got sick. Everything was put into a trust at that time. My dad passed away in 2015 and my mom continued the trust naming me as trustee and also gave me Power of Attorney. Because of the way the trust was set up and their will, it will be easy to settle all of the final bills and close the trust with final balance being paid out to their children. We were lucky in the fact that my parents had liquidated all their assets into cash and we don’t have to sell anything.
Deb Renken – I’m so sorry that this post came at a time when you were grieving your mom. Please accept my sympathy!
We have updated our will on each of our moves to new states, since the laws can be different from state to state. On our last move to TN we search for an attorney to get things in order here should anything happen and he was really helpful. He gave us a list of items that we should keep updated that are not included in a will, such as banking accounts, retirement accounts etc….
I sometimes miss having a basement and out buildings but then we just keep more stuff…..its so hard to downsize but it can be done. Wishing you a joyous Christmas Mary and prayers for you upcoming surgery
We lost both our mothers and a father within the past year so funeral planning has been essential and I am grateful they had prepaid arrangements.
All we had to do was plan the music, scriptures, who would speak, etc. Sorting out possessions is hard and I wish more had been given to children and grandchild as they would speak about things so that part could have been spared. It seems to prolong the grieving as you sort and sort. But this is just us.
Personally my sewing is what I am prioritizing as I will never live long enough to clutter my brain with this many projects to do. I think if I paired it all down more, each project would be finished and passed on to who I want it to go to. Seems so overwhelming when I look at all I have collected so as I give to charities who sew, it feels freeing each time, and I have not missed any.
Mary I also wanted to tell you that the dirty dozen helped me sort out what I really want to finish and was my time well spent happy in my sewing room If I didn’t care for the project. One UFO went to the thrift store. I know it will be the colors will make someone else happier than it did me just sitting in a plastic tote.
Cute book. I am in the process of doing my will. Having back surgery in January – I have never has any surgeries. At the age of 73 I guess its time to do my will ! Have live in my house for 45 years – basement, main floor and 3 bedrooms upstairs – thankfully the attic has been empty for many years. Too much stuff everywhere but no ambition to do anything about it. My son-in-law says when I die he is backing a dumpster up to the door and start pitching !! Glad I won’t be here to see that !
Barb – See? That’s what I mean! It is such a hurtful statement and I don’t want that to happen. I want the things I love to go to someone else who will enjoy them, not add to the landfill! He probably intended it to be a joke but I would be offended.
The dumpster idea is what my aunt did with 2 of her sisters estates. So sad. She couldn’t be bothered having a “make an offer” estate sale or hauling it to the Salvation Army. There were 4-5 quilts or handmade items I would of liked to have that are gone forever.
Lisa B – I had cousins who did that to my favorite aunt’s things. I would have loved to have some of them.
You really need to read “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson. Not as groesome as it sounds 🙂
I read this book on a 2 hour flight. Thanks for the reminder.
Judy A – didn’t you read my post that said I was ordering it because Beth recommended it?
Sorry, I missed that – and wasn’t sure I should post a link 🙂 You will not regret it.
This can be a tough topic but I am so glad that you wrote about it. My husband died 6 years ago and it took about 4 years to settle probate. My step dad died 2 1/2 years ago and I hope to have his estate finished by year end. My mom is in an assisted living facility and we downsized her with the move 2 years ago. It takes time out of your day to do each item in probate. And I had one difficult company to deal with in each estate that took way longer than it should have. I’m working on my estate, consolidating, selling, and organizing. My problem is the online accounts that make you update your password every 6 months. I’m trying to move away from being so dependent on them.
All of these comments are thought provoking and interesting. It is correct that planning is helpful to those left behind. I remember my mother showing me the gray box and wanting me to know its location about 20 years before she died. Of course, when I asked for more info about what was in the gray box she said I could look through it when she was gone. She did make a point to go set up a pre-planned funeral shortly before she was affected by dementia. The hardest part was the stuff as I didn’t care to have others outside the family go through things. I am so thankful she showed me the gray box and did the pre-planning. I guess I need to be doing some more of this myself, even though I’m “planning” on another 30 years. Thanks for the book suggestion. It would be good for both my husband and I to do.
My dad had a wonderful plan. Every year on Jan 1 he listed all his and my moms assets on a piece of paper. He listed banking info and all assets including property and all the equipment in the barn and the number of cows, etc. This was a great help even though he passed on Dec 10, I did not have the list of assets from Feb to Dec of that year. I have not responded in several weeks but have been reading. I had carpal tunnel and ulna surgery and had a splint/cast on for two weeks. Glad to be typing again and doing fine. Paula in KY
Paula Philpot – I actually wondered where you were, Paula! Glad to hear you’re on the mend!
Doing good from surgery but busy with Christmas baking and wrapping. Glad you missed me. Paula in KY
We made a will and living will; feel better now. Need to make a list like you showed of all sorts of stuff. I started downsizing – it is REALLY hard. I decided to take it one room at a time or one section of the room at a time. Of course, I get sidetracked with daily chores and then a week later I get back to it. It is a slow process….every time I throw away/give away something, I feel a little load lifted. Each thing I do is one less for the kids to deal with. Good Luck, keep blogging.