Collaborate with People in Your Care Network
Step 4 of Getting Your Loved One’s Affairs in Order
Now that you’ve created a system for organizing your loved one’s affairs and identified people that can help you in this process, you should be able to alleviate some of the burden by collaborating with these folks. The amount of help you’ll need will probably depend on the size and scope of your loved one’s estate and the extent of the disarray. If your loved one has a small estate and only recently started to let things go, you might simply need some occasional input from a few people, such as family members, doctors, or professional advisors. On the other hand, if your loved one’s estate is vast and their affairs have been spinning out of control for a number of years, you might need to create an entire working group dedicated to each category. For the purposes of further outlining a strategy for getting organized, we’ll assume that the situation is more towards the latter end of the spectrum.
Earlier in the process, you might have created a wide range of categories, depending on the specific situation. However, at a minimum, you’ll most likely have a few common categories that need to be addressed, including legal documents, financial accounts, household accounts, medical records, and prescriptions. Tackling each category one at a time will alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed. You’ll want to prioritize the categories in some way. Depending on your personality, you might want to start with the most challenging and work your way towards those that seem easier or vice versa. You might also prioritize based on need. For example, if there is a near-term meeting scheduled with the family lawyer, you might need to focus on the legal documents first.
At this stage of the game, it’s important to maintain open lines of communication with those in your working groups. Establish times to meet or periodic phone calls to set goals, assign responsibilities, and track your progress. If managing people and processes isn’t your forte, you might choose to ask another group member to take on that responsibility. Regardless of who is taking the lead, you might very well get frustrated at times and it might be tempting to revert to doing it all on your own. In such instances, communicating with other group members openly is critical. Try to stay focused on the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish and set aside any personal challenges that can arise. Collaborating effectively with others in this process will ultimately make your life much easier.