Dear Abby Agrees: You Need to Plan Ahead

Jul 15, 2017 | 2 comments

Dear Abby

Dear Abby

In the second letter of her column on July 14, Dear Abby ran a letter from a woman whose father put all his vital information into a notebook he called “Jack’s Doomsday Book.” It contained account numbers and balances, names of banks, passwords, locations of documents and other detailed instructions on how to take over his responsibilities if he was incapacitated. He always said that if something happened to him, to find that notebook in which everything was written down.

This is excellent advice. I hope you are taking note of this tip and actually pulling this information together. Why is this a good idea?

The author wrote: “I didn’t have to go searching through paperwork to figure out what was what. I knew the banks I had to go to and what to bring. It was all there, down to the changes he had made after Mom passed. Even our financial adviser was impressed at how easy Dad made everything for us. Everyone should have a doomsday book.”

Dear Abby replied:

I couldn’t agree more. I admire your father’s pragmatism. Too many adults fail to plan ahead for this kind of inevitability, which causes additional problems for survivors at a time when they are trying to cope with their grief. Readers, if you haven’t already done something similar, you should consider it.

If you need some motivation to pull your information together, download the free 50-point Executor’s Checklist from KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die. Seeing everything that needs to be done to close down an estate is a sobering reminder of how vital it is to create your own “Doomsday Book.”

You can also get a good start on collecting the information needed with the free planning form at Just enter your name, email and zip code in the box on the right side of the screen and you’ll get instant access to a downloadable Word or PDF document.

A Good Goodbye