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Estate Planning Organization

Tips for a Well-Organized Start to January 2024

photo of a page on a typewriter with the words New Year Chapter one
New Year Chapter One

January 2024 Your Chapter One

Each January I like to do some simple housekeeping in my office. Taking a few minutes now reaps benefits all year long. You will waste less time searching and have more time for doing. Let me share a few that I think can help you as well.

Contacts: A Personal Touch

Let’s kick things off by giving your contacts a personal touch. Take a moment to update your address book—add phone numbers, emails, and brief notes like birthdays or pet names. Add email addresses and phone numbers too if you have them. Whether it’s a digital or paper system, make it yours.

Contacts 2.0: More Than Just Names

Now is also a good time to add the intel from your holiday cards. Add the new spouses, future spouses, children, grandchildren, new pets, new employers to your notes in each contact. You will be so glad you did when sending greetings next time.

Sadly, this is also the time to edit the contacts who have passed away, lost their spouse or significant other, lost their beloved parent, lost their pet and any other significant losses. I know, we all think we will remember, but trust me, you want to have everything in writing.

Remember that a digital address book will ensure that all your contacts are current and synced across your gadgets—your computer, phone, tablet — so you can keep in touch hassle-free. The choice is yours, paper or digital.

While I usually advise one or the other, I know some of you are a bit of both paper and digital. If this is your style, please, do yourself a favor and make sure to always update both!

Quick Access Magic

Make your contacts work for you. Add frequently dialed numbers for quick access. Categorize them—personal, business, whatever suits your style—and become the master of your contact universe.

Calendar Systems: Your Trusty Sidekick

Now, let’s talk about keeping everything in order with your calendar systems. Whether you’re a digital wizard or prefer the tactile pleasure of paper, find a system that resonates with you. Your calendar should reflect your style and preferences.

Again, it is usually best to use one type of calendar, paper or digital. If you use both, be sure to enter your data faithfully in both places. This is the most common failure of hybrid systems. We forget to enter the data in the paper and the digital versions.

New Year, New Filing System

Time for a file spring clean-out day! Circle a day on your calendar—for file clean-out day! Sort through those documents, keep what’s essential for taxes, get rid of what is no longer needed, and stash away the rest for a trip down memory lane. Keep only the very best for your memory lane archive.

Say goodbye to last year’s chaos by setting up a fresh filing system for 2024. Keep things separate to avoid the headache of digging through old documents. A bit of effort now means smooth sailing for the rest of the year.

Prepping for Taxes: Financial Wisdom

Get a jumpstart on your finances by sorting out your filing system, especially the tax documents. Create a designated spot for upcoming tax documents—it’s like giving your future self a high-five. I dare say completing our taxes is a job we all want to make as effortless as possible, don’t you agree?

Just Do You: Your Unique Path

Remember, this is your system. Do what makes sense to you. If you need help along the way, reach out. Embrace the organizing system that resonates with you.

Are you ready to feel the freedom refreshing your systems will create? Let’s do this!

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Beyond the Estate Plan is the creation of Judith Guertin. Her passion is helping families organize and document their affairs to help everyone be prepared for the unexpected. Beyond The Estate Plan offers you the information you need to find, store, and locate your estate planning documentation, from a guide chocked full of checklists, documents, and advice, to helpful seminars, and even a membership community filled with others facing the same situations as you. Get as much or as little estate planning documentation help as you need with Beyond the Estate Plan and get peace of mind for you and your family.

Judith Guertin. Owner & Author

Judith Guertin is a renowned author, and a Professional Organizer and Productivity Specialist helping clients document, save, and share vital information. Her background as an occupational therapist and a professional organizer, allow her to share a wealth of knowledge about how to create and maintain order for everything in your life – including your estate plan. When tragedy struck her life with the unexpected loss of her mother in 2001, she found her calling to help others avoid the complications that can accompany a tragic loss through proper advanced planning.

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