When was the last time you thought about doing a will? If ever!! I have! I truly have been thinking about dying. Sounds scary right… It’s actually more like thinking about living! The COVID pandemic has highlighted the importance of having things in place, like a will, in case you get sick or even, sadly, die. Planning for your death can help ensure that you are well prepared, that your family is well prepared rather, to deal with any challenges that may arise in the event of your death.
This weekend, my entire family (including my siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins) started a discourse around creating a legacy drawer. Single parents, married couples and just about everyone needs to create a legacy drawer.
So first and foremost, what is a legacy drawer?
One well-known financial expert, Dave Ramsey of Financial Peace University states that, “Simply put, a legacy drawer is a collection of your essential documents in a safe place where your family and loved ones can find them when you die, or if you’re sick or disabled.”
Based on the description provided this sounds fairly straightforward right? After all if you create a will, before you die then you should be fairly set right? Wrong! A will only covers some assets not all. It is important that you provide your family with all the information that they need to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled after you are gone.
Legacy Drawer: Q & A
What does a legacy drawer look like?
Just think about an actual drawer. Think about a drawer or folder where you can store information that your family would need in the event of your passing. In your home, this drawer could be a physical drawer, an electronic drawer, a fireproof safety deposit box etc. You should also have another location with the copies of everything that you have included in your legacy drawer, such as bank safety deposit box.
What would I put in the drawer?
So what exactly are the essential documents your family would need after you are gone or incapacitated. These documents include:
1. Cover Letter
2. Will and Estate Plans
3. Financial Account Information
4. Funeral Instructions
5. Insurance Policies
6. Important Documents
7. Legacy Letters
8. Monthly Budget
9. Tax Returns
Who should I tell about the drawer?
Only trusted family members, spouses or friends should be aware of your legacy drawer. Not a whole list of persons but trusted persons. Then only a couple trusted persons should have access to your drawer, besides yourself. These persons may have access to your drawers with keys or passwords for electronic folders.
Why is a legacy drawer important?
A legacy drawer is important because of the information contained in it. It is also important because of the peace it affords your family, in their being able to access and locate relevant documents after you have died, instead of having to search through drawers and boxes for those important pieces of information.
But what happens if my drawer is hacked or stolen?
So whooaaaa…slow your roll!!! Even before you think about your documents being hacked or stolen, you need to store the contents of your folder or drawer in an extremely, extremely, extra safe location! You get my point! Ideally a locked drawer, fireproof box, electronic folder. You should also have copies of the documents in another location such as a safety deposit box in a bank.
Yes. But what if my drawer is still hacked or stolen?
You will need to go through the list of items and report them stolen. Basically you will make an official police report of the stolen items. Some of documents will need to be replaced by the state. And yet still, some items may not be replaceable. I will discuss this further in follow up articles.
So here’s what you might be thinking at this point…
I am all set! My family knows what to do if something happens to me.
But do they really? It would be interesting to have that conversation right now with family members and even more interesting to listen to their responses!
I am in good health, I can think about it later.
Your health and wellness is literally, only one second away from failing! One negative medical report, one accident, is all it takes to make you and me, to reassess our priorities.
It will take too long to complete a legacy drawer. I don’t have time right now.
You will have no time at all when you are dead! It takes about 30 days to gather all the materials. You can start working on one section each day. Over the next 30 days I will be gathering the documents needed for my legacy drawer. I am inviting you to join me!
I will create a folder on my computer, that should be enough.
Nope!! Computers can shut down. Then what if no one knows the password to your computer. Think about that! How many persons, besides yourself know your essential passwords.
As I conclude,
I know, I know….dying is not something we like to think about, yet it is very much a part of living. As single parents, moms and dads, couples, singles, widows and widowers, it is important to prepare not only for life but also for death. In addition to Dave Ramsey’s legacy drawer program, there many other free online programs you can utilize, in the first instance, to start creating your will, for example. Remember I started off writing about wills, right?!
So… join me in my 30-day Legacy Drawer Journey of financial success in life and beyond death.