I have always been a bit of a planner. I like to know what’s happening and what to expect. I’m always the one in our family who plays the devil’s advocate, who considers the “what ifs” of all kinds of situations.
A few years ago, all that “what if” thinking led me to create my “Just In Case” file. This was a small photo album which I filled with sheets of information on everything from where our wills were located to passwords for voice mail. The “Just In Case” file is there to help my loved ones sort through our finances and household operations should something ever happen to me.
I know… It’s a morbid thought. But I’ve had several loved ones pass away and some of them left many more questions than answers. It was incredibly stressful for the survivors to navigate all the things that needed to be done and to understand everything they needed to know. I wanted to make things easier for my family should something happen to me. It was important that I figure out how to create a family record book.
I recently received a copy of My Family Record Book by Harris N. Rosen, and it helped me realize that not only does my “Just In Case” file need to be updated, it’s lacking critical information.
Rosen’s book outlines exactly what you should include in your “Guide So Your Loved Ones Can Go On Living” from funeral arrangements and who needs to be contacted to banking information and computer passwords.
Rosen writes that grief can be both paralyzing and exhausting. Being able to put critical information regarding your finances and your wishes into the hands of your loved ones during a stressful time can be a blessing. He also points out that it can reduce the costs of settling your estate. The more information your loved ones know, the less they will have to pay expensive attorneys and accountants to figure things out. And when your family knows which people you trust to help them, they are less likely to be the target of scams.
What I especially liked about My Family Record Book was that it prompts you to include information you may not have thought of like when certain home and vehicle maintenance items need to be done, what bills need paying and when, how to operate the electronics in your home, and important dates to remember (like family members’ birthdays). It covers what needs to happen immediately after you’re gone as well as what needs to be handled later.
The book also contains some very useful information about downsizing and includes a list of what things to keep, what to shred, and when to shred them. It also has tips for designating were you would like key items (like furniture) to go when you’re gone. When you’ve downsized and organized, you make things much easier for your loved ones.
My Family Record Book isn’t a true workbook. There are no blank spots in it to write your information. Instead, it is an excellent tutorial in how to create a family record book that suits your lifestyle. There are even instructions to creating your “Guide” on your computer using Microsoft Word and an app you can use to make the process super simple.
Rosen’s book really makes you think about all of the important details of your life, and is backed by his extensive research into estate planning. His goal is to help you “make life easier for your partner and loved ones – by relating the information you know they will need to maintain the lifestyle you want him or her or them to have.”
As I update my own “Just In Case” file, I’ll be using Rosen’s My Family Record Book to make sure my family has all the information they need. It’s one small way I can continue to take care of my loved ones after I’m gone.
I would encourage you to pick up your own copy of My Family Record Book. Work on creating your own guide for your loved ones and encourage them to do the same for you. It will be the start of some good conversations and will put all of you at ease.
While I did receive a complementary review copy of this book, the opinions expressed here are 100 percent my own and were not edited by the publisher, author(s), or their affiliates. This post also contains affiliate links which help support this blog at no additional cost to you. Please read my full disclosure policy for more information.