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Have A Dress Rehearsal

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Hope for the best, prepare for the worst – words to live (and golf) by.  I’m an eternal optimist (the only way someone would play golf after the first time) so however bad things are, they get better eventually, if I wait long enough and/or work at it hard enough and I have yet to be proven wrong.

In group presentations on financial planning, there is a point where I tell the audience, “Look to the person on your left, then your right.  Out of the three of you, you will all eventually die.”  Not that it’s new information, just a reminder, and there’s usually a few chuckles as they weren’t expecting that!

So things don’t get too dark, I move on to also reminding people that when faced with a certainty, it’s best to prepare for it.  So, let’s do a dress rehearsal.

When my time is up, who is going to clean up my stuff?  My wife or kids will do it, but where’s the info on what to do?  In my Will, of course.  But where the heck is it?  And when they do find it and it says how to divide up my wealth, how do they know where my wealth is?

I’m going through this with my parents, who live in Montreal.  And it gets really granular.  We speak often, but not daily, so when the second one dies, who is going to notify me?

When I fly to Montreal to attend to things, do I have their house key?  The alarm code to get in the house?

Now I’m in the house.  Is the original Will here or in a safety deposit box or elsewhere?

Okay, I’ve got the Will that says how to divide the wealth, but where is it?  Where are the bank accounts, investment accounts, title to the home and other property?  And so on and so on.

In theatre, they do dress rehearsals to make sure the performance goes smoothly.  Maybe you should write the script for your loved ones when it comes time to perform their duties for you.  Put it in a personal financial organizer binder or booklet – a sort of “My Financial Affairs for Dummies”.  Just make sure they have a copy of the script!