The goal of this book is to provide a means to organize your personal information so you and/or your loved ones can find documents quickly and easily when the need arises. Ten years ago, the thought of writing a book about organizing would never have crossed my mind.
But then, life happens and circumstances change and major decisions have to be made and all of those can lead to a book. This book.
For me, the change was the tragic and sudden death of my 32-year-old nephew Shayne who died in a house fire. His death propelled me to leave my job and home in Houston and return to my hometown in central Illinois. I had lived in Texas for 27 years, so the move back to Illinois involved immense soul searching. After seven months of reflection, I knew I wanted to spend more time than just a holiday weekend or family reunion with my elderly parents. So, I packed up my stuff and loaded everything into a U-Haul. I said goodbye to friends and family and hit the road for what would become this new chapter in my life.
Almost everything in Shayne’s house was either destroyed by the fire or covered in soot. Not only were we dealing with the grief of losing Shayne, but also the daunting task of settling his estate, a task made more difficult due to the condition of his personal records and possessions. This tragedy was the catalyst for me to start a business to help others reduce the stress and confusion inherent to major and often unexpected life changes.
My professional work in Texas involved managing large and efficient accounting and financial systems and processes. Going through Shayne’s house and records, however, made one thing abundantly clear.
Having an organized system in place is one of the most loving and generous things you can do for your family and friends.
With my mother’s blessing and encouragement, I set out to create a book to catalog important information. In my research, I heard countless stories of others who experienced surprises (some good, some sad) and frustration when having to deal with moving, downsizing, disability, and even death. Each chapter of the book starts with one of these stories. Although I received permission to use these ‘call to action’ stories, the names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.
With this book, you can start anywhere. Start with a chapter that intrigues you and/or feels more comfortable. This Lifetime Legacy Planner is yours to help document your wishes so they are respected and your legacy preserved.
“Because sooner or later, we all run out of time …”