My mother was a bookkeeper, first for the Air Force during World War II, and later for my father’s business. She liked to organize bank statements, write checks, pay bills, and reconcile her bank accounts, of which she had several. The IRS requires that you keep the previous seven years of expense records to support your business, but my mother exceeded that requirement by 400 percent. When she passed away, in addition to the business records, she had multiple checking accounts, about 30 credit cards, investments with several financial consultants and banks, along with years of records.
Making life easier for those you leave behind includes both the simple and the complicated, both the painless and the unsettling. To illustrate, I’ll start with an example of these extremes. First the simple:
A couple of years ago, I injured my elbow tendon badly enough that it took months to heal. Not only could I not work out, I couldn’t even wrestle the lid off a jar, which took away one of the few reasons my wife keeps me around. Feeling the pressure, I looked for a surrogate jar opener, and the ladies at the local kitchen store introduced me to this tool that loosens lids by cracking the vacuum seal.
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