For many, January is a time for organization.
And, while death is not an easy topic for anyone to think about or even plan for, it’s best to live life organized. There is a Swedish concept called döstädning, which essentially translates to "death cleaning" in English. It may sound like a morbid concept, but the idea is that as you age, you lighten your load and shed the items that are no longer important. Truly, this could be done at any age whether 30 or 80, but the idea is to not leave the burden to your loved ones when you are gone. If you were to pass unexpectedly tomorrow, what kind of task would your family face in sorting through your possessions and documents?
My team and I personally understand this difficult topic, over the last couple of years we have witnessed our own family members tackling this task. My office manager, Michelle, has been working with her family members for over 2 years, encouraging them to be more attentive to organizing their belongings and documents. And, my in-laws have been working on decluttering and organization for over a year. On many occasions, my father-in-law has come over to the house asking if we want certain items from their home. As much as we don’t want to think about a day when they are no longer with us, as a family we all appreciate their willingness to declutter and organize.
Losing a parent or loved one is hard enough, but then having to sort through a lifetime of their possessions and documents for months afterwards makes it even harder. Sorting through your estate and finances ahead of time is one of the kindest thing you can do for your family.
This concept doesn't just apply to cleaning out clothes and knick-knacks you don't use anymore. It’s important to go through financial records, old bills, and any important paperwork. Speak with your financial planner to be sure your estate planning is in order and to go over your financial planning. It can be difficult for a child, or other beneficiary to sort through a lifetime of documents and find and understand what’s important. It’s a good idea to create a binder or box where all pertinent information about the estate, bank accounts, etc. can be easily found. In fact, it’s a good time to go over what’s in this box with a a loved one in advance so you can answer any questions. It's not easy to talk about death, but the more prepared you are, the less additional hardship your loved ones will face. It’s also wise to create a plan for who will care for any pets in the home in the event of the owner's death.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, our team is here for you.