No one likes to think about it, but dealing with unexpected events is simply a part of life. Have you noticed how some people seem to handle life’s challenges better than others? Let me tell you a little secret… these people know the value of organizing their important documents before an unexpected event occurs.

Although it may take some time, it is not difficult to gather and organize your important information. That’s why it’s so important to start right now! The trick is to break down the process into easily-managed fact-gathering sessions where your whole family can get involved.

Implement the following tips and you and your loved ones will reap the benefits and gain instant peace of mind.

1. Update Your Will
Review your will, and update it to meet your current wishes. Consider changing it if you got married, divorced, had a child or adopted one.

2. Choose an Executor to Handle Your Estate
An executor handles making sure your final wishes are fulfilled. Download our Estate Planning Checklist to get started.

3. Designate a Durable Power of Attorney
Choose a power of attorney to handle your financial and legal matters if you become temporarily or permanently disabled.

4. Prepare a Living Will and Health Care Proxy
A living will explain your wishes for artificially sustaining your life. Talk to your family and doctor about your wishes. If you do not have an estate plan in place, or if it’s outdated, make an appointment to see an estate attorney.

5. Appoint a Guardian
Choose a guardian for minor children, and then make proper financial provisions for them.

6. Help Aging Parents Get Organized
Download our Important Documents Checklist, then gather, organize and store documents you or your aging parents need to handle their affairs. Get more ideas with our article, The Necessity of Managing Personal Financial Documents for Aging Parents.

7. Review Insurance Policies
Update beneficiary designations on your insurance policies, especially after a marriage, divorce, adoption or death. Don’t forget policies your parents bought on your behalf or policies from your first job. There is over $1 billion in unclaimed life insurance funds due to forgotten or misplaced insurance policies.

8. List Your Digital Assets
Include usernames, passwords, security questions/answers and locations for all online and social media accounts. Include details about accessing your computer, laptop, external hard drives, mobile phone and cloud information. Download a free copy of our Fillable Desktop Password Manager to help keep track of this information. Give a copy to your executor and store a copy in a fireproof safe.

9. Make Final Arrangements
Download our Bereavement Checklist to assist you in making final arrangements.

My booklet, No Time Like Now, A Guide to Organizing Your Life’s Traditional and Digital Information, contains detailed information, tips and many resources to help you with this process so when life’s next emergency arrives at your door – you’re ready for it! Order a copy of the booklet by clicking here.