Losing a loved one can be a stressful time. For the person(s) that are the executor(s) for your estate, it can be especially stressful and actually interfere with the grieving process. You can help reduce their stress by preparing a personal records document and then storing it in an easy-to-find location - where it can be easily obtained when you pass away. (This means not keeping it in your safety deposit box. Do advise your executor(s) of the location.) In addition to having an up-to-date will and funeral pre-arrangements, a personal records document can be invaluable for your executor(s). This is especially critical in the digital age where our accounts, documents, and correspondence are online. (If you keep it online, be sure share the file ahead of time.)
Create a Personal Records Document
A personal records document may include: email account(s) and email password(s), list of bank accounts, list of investment accounts, list of insurance, and any other assets any details that you want your heirs to know. For example: people to notify, music to play at your funeral, and favourite memories. The personal records document should be accessible by your executors so that they can begin their work as quickly and as easily as possible.
There are many tools available to help with the preparation of your personal records documents. A few of our favourites include: "Big Book of Everything" by Erik A. Dewey - this document is available in PDF that you can print or an Excel file that you can enter information on your computer. Memorial Society of British Columbia - Resources - our friends at the Memorial Society of BC have some planning checklists and PDF's that can be updated on your computer or on paper. Getting Your Affairs in Order - the team at Getting Your Affairs in Order have a number of products and services to help you prepare yourself or with one of their trusted advisors.
However you prepare your personal records document, we recommend a paper copy be stored where your executor can access it.
Cooperative Memorial Society Suite 204A, 223-12 Avenue S.W. Calgary, Alberta T2R 0G9 403-248-2044 Toll free: 1-800-566-9959 firstname.lastname@example.org