Preparing for life's What-If's pt3

 Organize Your Contacts 

Making sense of your contacts is hard enough on your own. Chances are you have more than a few people in your phone who you don’t know.

Why are there three Karen H’s? Which one is the right one? Wait, it doesn’t even matter – I don’t know any Karen H!

If you find your own contact list confusing, imagine someone else trying to make sense of it after you pass – in addition to their grieving, they’ll have an organizational nightmare on their hands.

Your loved ones will inevitably need to be able to contact a few important people when you’re gone, and there are several steps you take today to make that process easier.

Note: These steps are based on the guidebook I’ve chosen to help get my life in order this year: 

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later,” by Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer (founders of Everplans*) with Gene Newman.

Identify Your Top 5 Contacts

Whether your list of VIP contacts is 500 or 15, the first step is to identify the top five. And not just any five.

While your first instinct might be to list those you talk to most often, that’s actually not a great strategy here – you don’t need your close friends’ and family members’ phone numbers. Rather, you need to identify the phone numbers those people would need when you’re no longer here. Think of them as your emergency contacts for your emergency contacts.

To help you get started, base each contact off of one of these five categories:

  1. Medical

Who is your primary physician, or is there a specialist you’ve been seeing regularly for a medical condition? If so, now’s the time to list their information. 

  1. Home

Who’s the handyperson you call on when something needs fixed? Is there a person from your church you always stops by to mow your lawn? 

  1. Financial

Do you have a financial advisor you’ve been working with? A banker? 

  1. Legal

What about an attorney or other legal representative? 

  1. Work

Who can you trust from your current (or previous) job to help answer any questions your loved ones may have?

When creating your list, make sure you add the contacts’ first and last names, title or organization, phone number and email address, and any relevant notes your loved ones might need. When in doubt, write it down. 

Other Contacts to Consider Including

We’ve narrowed down your top five contacts because we want to make this as simple as possible for your family members – it won’t be helpful to them if you have a bajillion people listed.

That said, you might need to flesh out your list just a little more. Consider adding these contacts:

  • Vehicle maintenance professionals– This could include your car, motorcycle, boat, etc.
  • Friends – Your bestie that moved across the country will probably still want to make it to your funeral.
  • Coworkers – How can your loved ones access your last paycheck? Who can help clean out your desk?
  • Neighbors – Maybe there’s a neighbor down that street that you regularly help with grocery shopping – she’ll probably want a heads up if something happens to you.
  • Religious Organizations – Are you the treasurer on the board of your religious organization? Do you run weekly Bible school sessions? Who at your church can help fill in the gaps when you’re gone?
  • Other Organizations – Similar to religious organizations, you should include important contact information for any other projects, charities, or businesses you’re involved with.

Make it Easy for Your Family

This entire process is truly a final gift you can leave for your loved ones – it’s a way to make sure they’re not burdened with a massive to-do list and no idea where to start if you were to become incapacitated.

Keep that in mind as you continue organizing your contacts and other aspects of your life. It may seem tedious now, but it could be incredibly helpful to your family down the road.

Grow with Gasber

Need help in your journey to organize your life and finances? Gasber can help – click here to schedule your complimentary “Get Acquainted” meeting today.