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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter

"If something ever happens to me…"
"Just in case you ever need to know where my things are…"
"If I die…"
We've all heard, and perhaps even said, phrases such as those at some time.  They are euphemisms for a subject that we don't like to talk about, but know that we should talk about:  our own death, or the death of a loved one.  According to Wikipedia, a euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener.   And of course the subject of death is the most unpleasant thing there is. 
Nevertheless, plan for it, organize things for it, and talk about it we must, because there is no "if" when it comes to death.  Call it by whatever euphemism makes you less uncomfortable, but acknowledge that it is going to happen to each of us eventually.  (For some amusing euphemisms, check out http://www.geocities.com/neocentromere/death2.html).
Your homework for the next 4 weeks is to create a document called "What My Family Needs to Know" (WMFNTK).
What does your family need to know?  They need to know
·        Your legal, financial, medical, and personal information and
·        Where to find your legal, financial, medical, and personal information
I hope that by this point in our 52-week journey you will be able to easily locate the above-mentioned documents!  That will make creating your "What My Family Needs to Know" document much easier.  (If you haven't yet organized your financial paperwork, however, the process of creating your document will give you a perfect opportunity to do so.  So keep reading!)
I suggest that you use a 3-ring binder with dividers to house your WMFNTK document. 
This week we will create Chapter 1:  What Your Family Needs to Know About Your Personal Information.  Below is a list of possible personal information that you might have.  Copy and paste that list into a Word document.  Then delete any items on the list that do not apply to you.
My Personal Information:
Create a record for each member of your household:
·        Full legal name, including maiden name
·        Social Security number
·        Date of birth
·        City and state of birth
·        Country of birth (if outside U.S.)
·        Address (physical)
·        Address (mailing)
·        Home phone
·        Work phone
·        Cell phone
·        Fax:
·        E-mail address 1
·        E-mail address 2
·        Marital status
·        Spouse's full name, including maiden name
·        Date of marriage
·        City and state of marriage
·        Former spouse's full name, including maiden name
·        Date of marriage to former spouse
·        Date of divorce & name of court where divorce was granted
·        Mother's full name, including maiden name
·        Father's full name
·        Children's full legal names
·        Grandchildren's full legal names
Names and contact information for important people/organizations:
·        Clergy person/place of worship
·        Personal representative/trustee
·        Children's legal guardian
·        Lawyer
·        Accountant
·        Financial advisor
·        Banker
·        Insurance agents (list individually)
·        Doctors (list individually)
·        Dentist
·        Pharmacist
·        Veterinarian
·        Preferred funeral home
·        Preferred place of burial
·        Relatives (list individually)
·        Close friends (list individually)
·        Current employer or school
·        Former schools & colleges (list individually)
·        Fraternity/sorority
·        Social, business & association memberships (list individually)
Military service:
·        Branch of service
·        Dates of service
·        Rank
·        Service number
·        Date of discharge
·        Type of discharge
·        Service-connected disabilities (%)
Fill in all applicable information.  If you are preparing this information for other persons, as well as for yourself, create a separate record for each person.
Save a copy of your WMFNTK document to your hard drive, a CD, or a flash drive.   Include the date in the file name, so that you will know when you created it. 
Print a copy of the Personal section and insert it into your binder under the first tab. 

posted on: 6/14/2009 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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Minimizing Financial Clutter

by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

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