Get It Together

Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To

Get It Together

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Get It Together

and , J.D.

, 6th Edition

Organize your records and make it easy for your family to track down your important paperwork with this step-by-step guide.  Get It Together will show you how to keep track of:

  • estate planning documents
  • final arrangements
  • tax records

Includes all the legal forms you need!


Available as part of the Nolo's Executor Bundle

Available as part of the Nolo's Estate Planning Bundle

Everything you need to get organized

If you’re like a lot of people, you keep important information—from the whereabouts of family heirlooms to online passwords to automatic bill-pay details—in your head or stashed in the odd desk drawer. Unfortunately, this disorganization will likely cause hassles for those who someday take care of you or your estate.

Do your loved ones know where to find your life insurance policies, online banking passwords, real estate deeds, or even your will?

Get It Together provides an easy, straightforward method to help you and others keep track of:

  • secured places and passwords
  • employment records
  • insurance policies
  • real estate records
  • tax records
  • retirement accounts
  • estate planning documents
  • final arrangements
  • letters to loved ones

This updated 6th edition is a guide to gathering records, an organizer for you, and a road map for your survivors.

 

“Get It Together is a must-have book/planner for every adult.”-About.com

“Offers a detailed, step-by-step process for gathering records and key documents and organizing them for future use.”-Sacramento Bee

“Provides a guide to collecting and organizing important records, and how to store and protect them, for readers and their family members.”-Reference & Research Book News

ISBN
9781413320718
Number of Pages
416
Included Forms

 

This book contains 28 blank tables where you can organize information about the following topics:


  • Letter to Loved Ones
  • Instructions for Loved Ones
  • Biographical Information
  • Children
  • Others Who Depend on Me
  • Pets and Livestock
  • Employment
  • Business Interests
  • Memberships
  • Service Providers
  • Health Care Directives
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
  • Organ or Body Donation
  • Burial or Cremation
  • Funeral and Memorial Services
  • Obituary
  • Will and Trust
  • Insurance
  • Bank and Brokerage Accounts
  • Retirement Plans and Pensions
  • Government Benefits
  • Credit Cards and Debts
  • Secured Places and Passwords
  • Taxes
  • Real Estate
  • Vehicles
  • Other Income and Personal Property
  • Other Information

Your Get It Together Companion

About This Book

  • Who Needs to Plan Ahead?
  • How It Works
  • The Perils of Incomplete Planning

Completing Your Planner

  • What the Planner Contains
  • Seven Steps to Preparing Your Planner

1. Letter to Loved Ones

  • Tips for Writing Your Letter
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Letter Up to Date

2. Instructions

 

  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Documents Up to Date

3. Biographical Information

  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

4. Children

  • Arranging Care for Children
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

5. Others Who Depend on Me

  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

6. Pets and Livestock

  • Arranging Care for Pets
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

7. Employment

  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

8. Business Interests

  • Estate Planning for Small Business Owners
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

9. Memberships

  • Types of Memberships
  • Membership Benefits for Survivors
  • Transferring Frequent Flyer Miles
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

10. Service Providers

  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

11. Health Care Directives

  • Types of Health Care Directives
  • How Health Care Directives Work
  • Choosing Your Health Care Agent
  • What You Can Cover in Your Health Care Directives
  • Duty of Medical Personnel to Honor Your Health Care Directives
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Documents Up to Date

12. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

  • How Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances Work
  • Choosing Your Agent
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Documents Up to Date

13. Organ or Body Donation

  • Do You Want to Be a Donor?
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

14. Burial or Cremation

  • Burial or Cremation?
  • Related Decisions
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

15. Funeral and Memorial Services

  • Types of Memorial Services
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

16. Obituary

  • What to Include in Your Obituary
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Obituary Up to Date

17. Will and Trust

  • Which Estate Planning Documents Do You Need?
  • An Overview of Wills and Trusts
  • Choosing Your Executor or Successor Trustee
  • Avoiding Probate
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Documents Up to Date

18. Insurance

  • What Kind of Insurance Do You Need?
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

19. Bank and Brokerage Accounts

  • Making Your Accounts Accessible
  • Avoiding Probate for Bank and Brokerage Accounts
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

20. Retirement Plans and Pensions

  • Planning for Your Retirement
  • What Happens to Retirement Accounts When You Die?
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

21. Government Benefits

  • About Social Security
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

22. Credit Cards and Debts

  • Evaluating and Reducing Debt
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

23. Secured Places and Passwords

  • Who Has Access to Your Safe Deposit Box?
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

24. Taxes

  • Tax Basics
  • Estate and Inheritance Taxes
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

25. Real Estate

  • Ways to Own Property
  • Special Rules for Married Couples
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

26. Vehicles

  • Leaving Your Vehicles to Others
  • Where to Get Help
  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

27. Other Income and Personal Property

  • In Your Planner
  • Keeping Your Information Up to Date

28. Other Information

Appendixes

A:  Using the eForms

  • Downloading the Files
  • Reviewing the Files
  • Editing RTFs

B:  Lawyers and Other Experts

  • What Kind of Expert Do You need?
  • Finding an Expert
  • Working With an Expert
  • Making a Fee Agreement

My Planner Information

Index

Introduction

Your Get It Together Companion

My mother died unexpectedly a few years ago. She had fallen and broken her leg. We knew, of course, that no one dies from a broken leg. But her mending was slow and difficult—a difficulty that, blessedly, foreshadowed her death. One blessing was that I knew I needed to spend more time with her, to share with her, to listen more closely. Another blessing was the nagging sense that I should be asking some tough questions:

     Where is that burial plot you and Dad purchased years ago? Where is the paperwork?

     What kind of funeral service do you want?

     Who should we call for help winding up your estate—an attorney, a financial adviser, your insurance agent?

With the answers to these questions jotted down in a notepad, my siblings and I were marginally prepared for the dawn of Mom’s passing. We didn’t find the paperwork for the cemetery plot; it wasn’t where she thought she had filed it. We were awash in a sea of decisions and telephone calls, each of which needed to be made in the first day or two. And we were in shock, moving into unfamiliar, Mom-less territory.

With this experience as a backdrop, I began to get my own affairs in order. I started the process with one goal in mind: Creating a planner to make my death far less burdensome for my daughters. I wanted to provide some direction, reducing their confusion in the first hours, days, and weeks. Yet, as the process unfolded, I found that helping my children was only the first of three benefits.

The second benefit was that, when document­ing information, organizing materials, and making end-of-life arrangements, I was often thinking of my own eventual death. As sad as that made me, I soon moved on, taking with me this truth: Facing the certainty of death generates a freedom to live life more fully. I am less fearful about death and more joyful about life. I am increasingly aware of the precious moments that I have been given—and of the finite nature of that grant.

Living out my days as though each might be my last is a wake-up call, a call to be more fully aware of each day. Living each of my remaining days with attention and appreciation is an enormous challenge—and a marvelous gift.

The third benefit was a simple one: a bounty of relief and satisfaction at having my affairs in order. Despite my innate tendency to organize, I found that my portfolio—birth certificate to retirement benefits to final arrangements—was a thing of beauty. Never before had my insurance policies been gathered in one location—including even the accident policy offered with my major credit card. The process of pulling together my documents, information, and wishes has helped me to feel informed, up to date, and in control of my affairs.

I share with you this process:

     to reduce the eventual, inevitable burden on your loved ones

     to help you experience the freedom of facing your mortality, addressing unfinished business, and valuing your days, and

     to convey my hope that you will enjoy the satisfaction of organizing your affairs.

May you find direction, organization, and a certain freedom in the process of creating your planner. Ultimately, may your loved ones find direction, solace, and love in the planner that you leave behind.

 

This Book Comes With a Website

Nolo’s award-winning website has a page dedicated just to this book, where you can:

DOWNLOAD FORMS - All forms in this book are accessible online. After purchase, you can find a link to the URL in Appendix A.

KEEP UP TO DATE - When there are important changes to the information in this book, we will post updates

And that’s not all. Nolo.com contains thousands of articles on everyday legal and business issues, plus a plain-English law dictionary, all written by Nolo experts and available for free. You’ll also find more useful books, software, online services, and downloadable forms.

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