Why – time to take stock. You have worked diligently for all of these years and hopefully have been rewarded and have accumulated wealth and knowledge, and maybe even some wisdom. Have you ever done a review of what you have? Life can be fast moving and complicated, and much of what you may have of value (both hard assets and intangibles) may best be known only by you. With the passing of people very close to me, I have noticed that we do not contemplate our own passing; and the aftermath of others having to take over for you. I believe in the “hit by the truck” mentality so that you put your matters in order to facilitate the day that your heirs take over your matters.
What – so what does “putting your affairs in order” look like? As an accountant, I look upon this exercise like preparing a balance sheet. You outline your assets, both valuable tangible and intangible, and your liabilities. The numerical value attached to each line are less important than the relative importance and value of each to you. Also, I like to have some form of documentation supporting these line items. All of this then is assembled into a file/folder/binder which can be accessed and updated and reviewed as you so see fit.
How – we are all busy and this exercise can take time to accumulate the information, especially the supporting documentation. You may have a family member, personal CFO or consigliere whom you trust to assist you in the assembly of this information. Finding that trusted person is important, as that person could be the keeper of the information for you now, and would play an especially important role when you are no longer here.
When – start now.
Maybe this is a daunting task and could prove to be time consuming and challenging. I find the exercise, done regularly, a great time for personal reflection: where I have been, where I am now and where I am going.
Learn, think, apply!