In the beginning of the year, thousands of Americans gathered around their media devices and marveled as Korean author and organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, tore through the homes of American families and reorganized them. Kondo’s approach was hailed as innovative, effective and sometimes even life changing.
At the end of a one-hour series, spectators of the show had the chance to rejoice with the families at their newly organized and decluttered home, many times with tears in their eyes. The beauty of Marie Kondo’s work was not only that she helped clean and organized but also she bought a mental clarity into these homes. Congruently, Estate Planning is the decluttering of your future.
The unfortunate reality remains that an overwhelming majority of adults living in the United States are not equipped for a long-term health crisis or their inevitable demise. Furthermore, Estate Planning is often the last box checked off on life’s to-do list. Just like the Kondo Method, Estate Planning has a set of guidelines which, when followed, makes the process so much easier.
- Attend an educational event on Estate Planning. The very first thing you want to do is educate yourself. Like those provided by my firm, The Atlanta Estate Law Center, Estate Planning workshops are crucial in understanding where you fall into the Estate Planning process. The workshop is the time to gather information about what to expect throughout the process.
- Schedule and attend your free consultation with Attorney Geerdes. When confirming your appointment, be sure to ask the materials that you must bring with you along with all the questions you have for your attorney. Plan to be there for an hour. In this meeting, you will be expected to be honest and “declutter” your estate plans.
- Attend your follow up consultations according to the process described by your attorney within a timely manner. In Kondo’s process, it is imperative to tidy up in one shot. Starting the and delaying the process will only cost more money and frustration.
- Marie Kondo your life! Once you have signed your Estate Planning Documents, you will be given your items to take home with you. Organize by designating a “home” for your important documents and make sure your loved ones know where to find the following:
a. Estate Planning binder
b. Income tax returns
c. Life insurance policies
d. Investment Details
e. List of household contents
f. Outstanding loan documentation
g. Automobile titles
h. Important warranties and receipts
i. Bank account information
j. Credit card details
k. Information about your home
Once complete, the absolute final step we want you to take is to rest. The process of decluttering your life, finances and assets can be draining but can be even worse if not done. Above all, Marie Kondo has a very important step we should all keep in mind: “say ‘thank you’.” You have worked hard and lived a life that has taught you a lot and given you a lot. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments once you have protected them.