In late 2019 I read an article on “Time.com” by Shoshana Berger and BJ Miller, M.D. entitled, “Why You Need to Make a ‘When I Die’ File — Before It’s Too Late” (9/23/2019). This article immediately resonated with me as it outlines how we can make the lives of our loved ones much easier when and if they suddenly have to wind up our affairs because we have died.
This may seem like a morbid topic – one most of us would prefer to avoid – however, we are all going to die and some of us will die unexpectedly due to unforeseen events.
If you died unexpectedly would your partner, children or friends know:
- where to find your important documents
- where to find your will
- where to find directives about your final disposition
- how to contact your lawyer, insurance agent, bank manager, business contacts, etc.
- how to unlock your devices
- how to access social media accounts
- what passwords you use to access your bank account(s), internet subscriptions, blog(s), YouTube channel(s), social media accounts
- what you want said in a eulogy or written death notice
- directives about care of your minor children
- how to care for your pet(s); etc.
- where to find your ethical will
It is said we live in the “information age” and there is so much essential information that needs to be easily accessed by our loved ones who, in addition to grieving, would have to take care of immediate concerns (funeral, children, household matters, insurance, etc.) and wind up our affairs. Would this task be a several month long nightmare for your loved ones?
It would not be a nightmare if you follow the advice of Berger and Miller and prepare a “findable file, binder, cloud-based drive, or even shoebox where you store estate documents and meaningful personal effects” because such advance preparation “will save your loved ones incalculable time, money, and suffering.”
To help facilitate this task of creating a file or binder with all this essential information, I have designed a kit of journal pages for an “Essential Information You Will Need When I Die Notebook”.
You do not need to have had a lot of experience constructing journals from scratch to make a “When I Die” notebook. Those of you in the junk journal community know how to construct a journal/notebook using a simple file folder as the cover and how to stitch in signatures (a grouping of several pages) into this cover. Two cover page options are provided that you can glue to the file folder cover you construct.
Fold the pages printed from the kit in half. This will make a notebook of approximately 8.5″ in length by 5.5″ in width.
You can use either the brown heading labels provided (to designate the information that should be provided on specific pages) or you can tear and ink the same headings typed on white background to glue on the pages in the notebook you construct. Blank heading labels are also provided if you have categories of information you wish to add that are not already provided.
This kit gives you papers to glue on your cover, a few ‘decorative’ pages, and lined and unlined pages on which you can glue the labels provided. Of course, you can add any other papers or information you wish. This basic kit will get you started.
If per chance, you have never made a journal cover or compiled and attached the pages, here are a few YouTube tutorials that explain the basic steps. You will see that there are different materials you can use to make the cover, and different ways to proceed. You do not have to use all the decorative options presented in these videos. Just get the cover made, insert your pages, and glue in your headings. Then see if there are other things you would like to add.