Several months ago while I was working on our quarterly report I had this fearful thought, “What would happen if one us became incapacitated or died? I know where some stuff is but does Mike? And vice-versa? We share responsibilities, but what if I die or get really sick? Or, if we both died suddenly would our kids know where to start and what to do?
Gone are the days when managing the household of a deceased family member meant waiting on the mail to come to see what bills are due. So much of our world is electronic now that anyone coming in behind us to manage our household for a while would truly not know where to start. Having been through an estate management process, I decided that when our family members may already be grieving, let’s not let them be irritated too because they don’t know what to do and where to start! It can happen!
So I thought I would approach DA duties from my professional experience – HR orientation and training. Putting my HR hat on I pictured myself orienting someone to our household and asked myself the following questions.
“What all would a partner or family member need to learn about our household and be able to ramp up quickly and thoroughly?”
“What are the monthly deadlines and SOPs pertaining to our general household management or our finances?”
“What resources would they need to know about to keep the house going until the house sells?”
Regardless of whether you are an SDA with an apartment and one pet or a PDA with a six figure income, four key communication “tools” can help:
Four Important Things to Leave Your Loved Ones
1) Personal Property Management Inventory (house,mortgage, insurance, vehicles, etc)
2) Medical Management Manual
3) Cloud-based Password Management System
4) Financial Asset/Liability List
Of course, all usual safety and security conditions apply. Be safe with your passwords and define who has authority or power of attorney to access specific information. There are many cool apps and online tools to help you with this process including the personal health information tools such as Microsoft Healthvault. In any event, a good Word document or Excel spreadsheet will work just as well as long as your designated person knows the location of the information. I know many of us have our stuff organized in a meaningful way – for us. The next step is to consider how accessible and functional the process is for someone learning your household as a temporary “DA” who may be helping you with your life or finishing your life if need be.
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Lisa Boesen, MAOM, is a Certified Master Coach and HR Professional. She enjoys working clients who want to work through barriers, improve resilience and approach opportunities with renewed energy and curiosity. To request more information or a free consultation, click here.