Q: Who should use this product? Seems like it’s just for older folks?
A: It’s actually for anyone who wants to get organized and get all the complicated bits of life into one place. The thing about unpredictable life events is that, well, they are unpredictable. If you have kids or pets, or enough complications in your life that you worry about what would happen if your life changed dramatically, it’s time to get it together.
Q: I already have a financial planner/attorney/living trust/will. How is this different?
A: MyFinalChecklist does not take the place of legal and financial services. It is a system to take the legal documents your legal/financial advisors helped you prepare and put them together with the other information people would need if you were incapacitated or passed away. Need your holiday card list? It’s here. Need your insurance policy number? It’s here. Forgot your password? That’s here, too.
Q: How long does it take to complete the checklists?
A: That’s a great question! If you are determined and organized, you can get through it in a couple of weeks. For most of us, it takes a couple of months to put everything together. Some of the chapters are easy to work through, some require thought and reflection, and some require homework. We suggest you do the first two chapters (emergency information and legal documents) immediately, and then work on what you are in the mood to do after that.
Q: Why does anyone need to know my passwords and personal information?
A: The official answer is that the law is having a hard time keeping up with technology and it’s not always clear which digital assets an estate executor can access. Until the law becomes more specific, the only way to make sure your photos and genealogy and other digital assets can be shared is to share access.
The more practical answer is that if you are incapacitated or if you pass away, the people handling your affairs will need to access your bill pay accounts to pay bills or close accounts, they will likely need access to your email or phone to respond to friends and others, and they might need time to transfer all of your photos or music or whatever you’ve stored online to a more permanent location.
Q: Does a couple need two binders, or can we use just one?
A: Many of the chapters, especially Chapter Nine: End of Life Preferences, are full of information specifically for one person, so ideally you would each have one.
Q: Is there a digital version or app?
A: There is not. What we’ve discovered in actual use is that when something big happens, there isn’t time to wonder if there is an app, which one it is, and where the log on information is. There are many great on-line systems for storing your legal documents, but MyFinalChecklist is more than that.
If you are caring for someone who is incapacitated, you’ll need phone numbers for doctors and plumbers and friends. You’ll need passwords to pay bills. You’ll need information about children and pets, and you’ll need it quickly. With the binder, it’s all in one place and you can be confident that you can respond to whatever happens.
After someone dies, you need the same information, but you’ll also have the burden of providing documentation to all of the companies, vendors, and government agencies that you’ll be dealing with. You will need copies of the will, cremation authorization, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses and other paperwork, depending on what you are doing, and having everything in one spot is an enormous time saver and stress-reducer.
Q: Can I make a copy of the checklist for my friend?
A: No, sorry. The content is all copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
Q: It is a lot of sensitive information – where should I store the binder?
A: You are right, it needs to be kept someplace very secure. We recommend a fire-proof safe. DO NOT store it in your safe deposit box because if you pass away, access to your safe deposit box may be delayed until your estate is settled.
Q: I have other questions…
A: Ask us anything! Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org