It isn’t as morbid as it sounds and I actually think everyone should write one!
No, I don’t have a death wish! No, I haven’t discover I only got 6 months to live. I’m absolutely fine. I don’t sky dive or practice any sort of activities considered dangerous, except driving a vintage motorcycle that is 😉 So I don’t think I’m about to die but you never know.
Writing this memo just felt like a nice thing to do, a sensible thing to do, to help my loved ones handle things, a little bit easier, in case something happens.
We’ll all die some day and can’t really know when
We usually don’t want to think about our own death. It’s not the nicest topic to dwell on.
Yet, we’ll all die, one day or another and in the process, we’ll leave behind a lot of junk and issues.
Our loved ones, the ones would will have to empty our apartments and deal with the paper work to maybe inherit a little something, would probably prefer to not have to deal with any of it.
I’ve long been in admiration with the Swedish practice of death decluttering and such feeling was exacerbated when my mom passed away… There was so much to handle.
Anyway, I’ll die, you’ll die and that is pretty much the only certainty of life.
And so I wrote a ‘If I die tomorrow’ memo!
It’s not a will but it kind of is. It has no legal validity but hopefully certain aspect will be respected.
I will most likely do a proper will at one point or another, meanwhile, my memo is there! And it will be useful anyway.
It will also have to be updated regularly. Maybe yearly will be enough. But also whenever there is a significant change.
At this point in time, my partner is considered to be in charge. Legally, since we’re not married, he has no right and no obligations but he is the one holding all the info, so this should help!
What’s in this ‘If I die tomorrow’ memo?
The content is based on my personal situation and if you decide to do one too, you’ll need to adapt it but it should give you a couple good ideas anyway of what to put in there. Let’s dive in.
One important thing I must stress, is that my partner will most likely/ hopefully (!) be the one who has to handle thing and that he will have access to my computer and my phone. He already has the passwords, passcodes etc. This is actually crucial.
I probably should consider that the person who will have to deal with all of this wouldn’t have these access. This opens a whole new can of worms, really. When you think about it, for most of us, everything we do is stored on our computers and phones. If my dad or even my brothers were left with neither, it would be a small nightmare to deal with it all.
If you decide to write your own ‘if I die tomorrow’ memo, you may want to consider that the person handling your affairs won’t have such access and provide even more details than what I did.
Since I’m independent, I listed the professional contacts who will need to be informed asap. I’m not irreplaceable, far from it, but my death will lead to a lot of paperwork for my clients.
In addition these contacts will be able to sort out outstanding invoices, if any at that time.
If you have a regular 9 to 5, you should at least make sure your partner or who ever will handle things knows who to contact. Your partner has probably heard your boss’s name 1000 times but do they have their contact details?!
My accountant details
My accountant will be able to assist with VAT de-registration, taxes issues, social security, closing my annual accounts… fun stuff!
If you have an accountant and/or a financial adviser, you should definitively add to the list.
My notary will need to settle my inheritance, the apartment, the closing of the bank accounts…
If you already have a notary, do indicate it.
A list of bank accounts and investments
I’ve listed my numerous bank accounts as I have accounts in 3 different countries! I included all the contact details and the best way to handle each of them. I’ve added which credit cards are link to which account, the type of accounts there are and other useful info.
I also listed my various investments. The contact details for the regular types of investment and life insurances as well as online details for my various crowdfunding.
It’s still probably going to be difficult to handle but it will be helpful. Some of my online incomes are paid to my Paypal account so the handling of such will be tricky for example.
Try to give as much details as you can. The person who will have to deal with this may have no clue how your online investments, crypto or else, works.
The notary in charge of your succession will look into bank accounts first. So this is really important and should definitively be updated regularly.
Subscriptions to be cancelled
There is no reason to continue to pay for my Amazon prime account, my Adobe or Microsoft subscriptions. These are easy to cancel anyway.
There are details about other subscriptions like my phones (yes, plural!), some professional subscription, some training programs… Fairly easy to handle as well.
My partner will have to be more careful with my Apple subscription because he will need my computer and the cloud to deal with a lot of things.
Again, give details because people may have no clue about certain of these things.
Insurances to be cancelled
For now, the only insurance I have is for my bike. The apartment and car insurance are handled by my partner. Easy one!
Well, this may not apply to you but I had to have this section. At the very least, you probably do have a couple social media accounts so don’t forget about these.
Social media, websites and online income
Now, I’m far from making millions from my online activities but I do have a bit of an income stream and I leave it to my partner to decide if he wants to close it all or keep it.
I have appointed him as my online legacy contact to enable him to deal with my different email accounts, my social media accounts and my websites.
I’m going to have to expend this sections because he has zero experience with this sorts of things and will have no clue how to deal with hosting, Society6, Jetpack, WordPress, MailChimp, AdSense, Pinterest… It’s going to be painful for him!
My partner and I bought the apartment together but since we’re not married, if I die tomorrow, my father inherits my half. If not my father, my brothers. It’s maddening, it’s frustrating. This is why I must do a proper will.
Nevertheless, I indicated in my memo that my partner should keep it all – apartment and furniture. If my brothers want to inherit my half of the apartment, they will have to accept my half of the loan and won’t like it! They are probably going to be reasonable about it. At least at this point in time.
The notary handling your succession will need the deed of your property(ies), the loan(s)… Make sure these are easily accessible.
My precious! It’s been discussed with my father and my brothers. Everybody knows which of my niece gets the Indian, which of my nephew gets the Peugeot. Everybody agrees… Will see what happens, when I get a third bike!!
My jewelry & other loved possessions
There are a couple pieces of jewelry that I have allocated to specific persons but other than that, my partner will get to decide what goes to whom. He gets to keep what he wants.
I’ve been a little specific as well, with some other possessions. Like which of my nephews should get his great grand father watch and harmonica or which of my nieces should get my sewing machine.
No one will want my dogs ashes, so I asked for these to be spread in a specific location, a place they loved. I never had the heart to do it myself.
That’s it for me. That’s what I have included so far. I’ll probably find other things to add with time.
Things my memo doesn’t include
As you see, this is based on the idea that my partner will handle a lot of things and that he will have my computer and phone. To cancel subscriptions for example or access my online investments.
If we were to die together in a plane crash… oh well!
I have also considered that he would be the one dealing with all my stuff. Clothes, papers, camping gear, tools, drawing tools, nicknacks, etc. Poor him!
For now, I haven’t added the donations I would like to make but will in the future.
As mentioned earlier, this is based on my personal situation. I’m childfree, not married, independent… You’ll probably have plenty of other things to consider.
Little further tips if you wish to write your own
The part about bank accounts, investments, properties, other assets, insurances… These will be required by the notary. Make sure you are exhaustive in your listing and keep it up to date.
With regards to your other belongings, look around room by room, think of the things you cherish, think of the things of value. Maybe you have a wine collection, maybe you have a ring you want to pass on, maybe it’s something your best friend has always loved.
You should know who would legally inherit in case you passed. If you are married with children, it’s easy. If not, do find out and plan accordingly. Knowing who would inherit your estate is useful to take the appropriate steps.
Don’t over stress it. It’s a guide, a memo, something you do to help your loved ones. It might be a good exercise if, like me, you are planning to do a will. It gives you an overall view. It might even lead to changes! You might reconsider your finances after such exercise, you might reconsider your belongings and what is important.
Please don’t forget about your pets. They need to have a good home after you. Do talk about it with the person who will be responsible and make sure they agree. Find a financial arrangement if needed.
Let me know if I forgot something!
And let me know if you think this is a terrible idea or a pretty good one!