Things to Document While You Still Can

If you’ve been following my writing for a while, you know that I am very interested in documenting what your family will need to know when you are no longer around. I created a folder in my file cabinet labeled “Afterlife” and have been adding documents to it for several years.

The AARP Newsletter recently featured a helpful article entitled How to Be a Good Executor of a Will or Estate. What interested me most was a sidebar that featured “5 Things to Tell Your Future Executor.” These were:

  • Where the original will is.
  • Whom to notify.
  • Your passwords.
  • Who gets what.
  • Where your secrets are hidden.

Because I’ve done so much thinking and writing about this, I was surprised to see that I had neglected to document “Whom to notify”. So a few days ago, I made up the following list, with contact information,  which will go into my Afterlife folder:

  • Doctors
  • Financial Advisors
  • Business Contacts
  • Friends
  • Team Sharon (this includes my Personal Trainer and my Hairdresser!)

When I showed this to my husband, he was delighted to see it. We plan to work on a similar list for him.

If you haven’t documented any of the information your family needs to know — or haven’t had a conversation with your aging parents about this — then you might want to read my previous posts on this topic:

Planning for the End – how valuable it was that I discussed this topic with my parents in advance.

Planning Your Afterlife – what I included in my Afterlife folder.

Your Digital Afterlife – what happens to your hundreds of on-line accounts.

Marketing Beyond the Grave – how to removed deceased family members from mailing lists.

I know that this isn’t the most cheerful topic in the world, and many people are uncomfortable talking about it. But denial of the inevitable isn’t going to make it go away. It will just result in family members struggling to sort everything out at an already trying time.


  1. Barry Solomon on August 6, 2021 at 10:26 am

    I wish you were in Los Angeles

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