My mother passed away a year ago. We five siblings were lucky that she and my father, who died 8 years before, had the foresight to have their “affairs in order”. A family trust. Wills. Life insurance. All organized in notebooks in my father’s closet. It sounds business-like, I know. But the real gift was that we could direct our energies toward planning their joint memorial service instead of the thrash of looking for documents needed to settle their estates.

If you have all of your essential documents organized and your loved ones know where to find them, you may stop reading now. But if you are like local couple Dick and Julie Edstrom, who found themselves having a repeated conversation that always started with “if something happened to you, where would I find …..”, then read on.

In response to the need to have an orderly plan in place, Julie created a simple to use and invaluable tool called the Ready or Not Workbook. The workbook is an organized system for recording all of the essential documents your loved ones will be grateful to get their hands on when you become incapacitated. The workbook contains fill in pages, dividers and pouches to store all of the documents needed at the time of a life transition. As the authors state, it is the “information station” needed for peace of mind.

For those of us who would benefit from this organized approach, Community Thread is offering Are You Ready or Not for Life’s Transitions on Wednesday, February 15 at 1:30 pm. The Edstroms will cover what you should have ready “just in case” and how to best organize these important documents. The Edstroms are independent consultants and are not affiliated with any services or products. Their workbook is unique in that it is not intended to sell anything. Their objective is to help people be prepared for the inevitable transitions in life and to reduce the vulnerability of the survivor. They can refer people to professionals to help complete the gaps discovered in the process.

The workbook covers all of the basics, such as legal and financial topics, home and personal property details and health care considerations. Using the workbook to record and organize your assets, which may be scattered far and wide, promises to leave the survivor an orderly plan that honors your wishes.

And in this rapidly advancing information age, there are now even more assets to consider. For example, digital assets. According to the New York Times, some assets like Internet domain names exist only in cyberspace. In addition, account and bank statements are delivered via email, and important financial records may be stored in the cloud or on computers. Would your loved ones know how to access this information?

As Dick states, “the workbook makes life easier for everybody.” For me, it sounds like a very mixed emotional experience of mourning someone’s passing while at the same time dealing with the frustration of their unattended estate work.

So give the best gift ever to the people who care about you. There is no cost to attend the Ready or Not Workshop but registration is requested by calling Community Thread at 651-439-7434. The authors will be offering the workbook for $16.95 – a real value. Because after all, you can’t put a price on peace of mind, the best gift ever.

By Sally Anderson