I don’t consider myself a morbid person but I spent some time recently updating my Will. My wife and I had our first copies drafted thirteen years ago and they were well overdue for an update. Since that first draft, we’ve added two more kids, a cat and a car, moved to a new state and have been through a couple different jobs so, it was time to get it done.

There are certain things you should do just because it’s the responsible thing to do. Here are three of them:

1. Draft Your Willswill
In the case of your own death, or that of both you and your spouse, you want to have a say in where your kids end up. How tragic it would be for your kids to, not only lose both parents but also not know where they’ll end up. This just adds a layer of unnecessary stress.

Be sure to speak with whom you want your kids to go to. Just because you state it in a Will doesn’t make it binding. The other party has to agree to take your kids.

Outline who should take over guardianship of your kids. An attorney can help you with this. We paid around $300 for this service. It is well worth the expense. You can also outline how money should be distributed and whether it should go to a Trust Account, etc. You can also designate specific things to go to your heirs, like your baseball card collection, guitar, grandfather clock, etc.

2. Collect Important Documents in One Place
Get all of your most important documents and keep them together in a lock box or other safe place. I recommend also making copies and keeping the copies at a separate location, perhaps in a locked file cabinet at work or at your parents or in-laws house. These documents might include birth certificates, passports, vehicle titles, list of financial accounts, lists of important contacts, property deeds, marriage license, copies of your will, etc. The purpose of the copies is simply to have a backup if the originals are completely destroyed in some type of natural disaster. 

3. Video Your Property
Go around your property and get a video or pictures of everything you own. This is again helpful in case your property is destroyed by a natural disaster. I recently did this to update the video I had from seven years prior. Again, things change so it’s important to update it every few years. You may want to do it more often than every seven years depending on what stage of life you are in and how much is changing.

I had been needing to update these things for some time and finally took the time to do it. It’s not particularly difficult but it is easy to overlook. It’s not necessarily a fun thing to do either but in the event of your death, in the case of a Will, it will serve as an act of love that you were thinking about the needs of your family after you are gone. 

What other ideas do you have to add to this list or to any of the particular lists mentioned in the above points?