Estate Planning Made Simple

Personal estate organizing starts at the time we become an adult. Even if you think you have nothing of value there is still the question of your final wishes. Even if you think you have nothing there is still your bank account or your possible employment benefits etc.

We all know there is no escaping death, however we believe it will never happen to us. When we hear of a famous person’s demise we are usually in disbelief thinking that somehow they are exempt from death. And when it is a person close to us we go into shock, grief and sadness.

This is all real but somehow feels surreal.

Talking about death and dying does not mean it will come sooner. So why is it that we avoid the topic?

There are so many easy ways to be organized for your passing. This in turn will lessen the burden on your friends and family.

Imagine transitioning with grace.

Check out this short video on estate planning made simple and then read on for the Getting It Togethers Top 5 Tips.

Tip 1: Have a secure place for all of your digital passwords. Even if you use an online service like www.onepassword.com your loved ones still need to know how to get into that site.

Keep a copy in your safety deposit box.

Survivors need access to

  • Cell phone
  • Computer
  • Social media accounts
  • Home alarm with instructions on how to work it and the pass code.
  • Hidden spare keys and list of people who might have spare key to your home or vacation property.
  • Bank Accounts
  • Online accounts like banking, direct deposits, PayPal etc

Tip 2: Our stuff is less important to others. Are you saving stuff for your grown children? Do you even know if they want it or not?

I have heard of people having a family dinner where each person can claim certain heirlooms by placing a sticker on the bottom of the item with their name on it.

Or you might have special pieces of jewelry that you want to go to certain people which you will make note of in your will.

More has lost its appeal.

Less represents freedom.

Tip 3: Making special requests for your remains. Do your family members really know your final wishes?

Does everyone agree on them?

It is so important to have this in writing.

Advanced Planning- non legal organizing

  • Funeral, memorial service, celebration of life
  • Organ donation plan
  • Cremation or burial
  • Obituary ( be very careful about identity theft when publishing)
  • Eulogy
  • Asset Distribution
  • Estate Directory – friends, family ( have an up to date list of all their names and numbers)
  • List of Doctors, lawyers, financial planner, minister, accountant, insurance agent, employer, godparents, neighbours, kids school, babysitter, and daycare. Be sure to update these lists as things change in your life. I suggest reviewing this information once a year.
  • phone company
  • banks
  • credit card companies
  • volunteer organizations you belong to
  • Safety deposit box (with location of key) one way to insure smooth sailing is to have your bank acct and safety deposit box in joint name with one of your survivors.
  • Anything else you can think of that your survivors would need access to. Like passport, birth certificate and SIN # etc

Tip 4: Legal Essentials

  • Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Representation Agreement ( living will)
  • Cash/life insurance, all financial documents
  • Business Succession Plan (if you own your own business) listing names of employees and their numbers, any contract workers or suppliers.
  • Any outstanding loans/alimony/child support

Tip 5: In order to process a registration of death for vital statistics and to process a death certificate, the funeral home will need the following

  • The deceased persons full legal name including maiden name if female
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Birthplace
  • Social insurance number
  • Health care number
  • Fathers full name
  • Mothers full name
  • Full name of surviving spouse
  • Occupation and for how long
  • Religious affiliation
  • Was the deceased a military veteran? This is important to have this information on file.

I am wishing all of my readers a long, happy, healthy, successful life.

When you do pass on, where will your affairs lie in the spectrum between chaos and order?

Please let me help you and your loved ones by making this transition smooth.

PS: Contact me today for a free 15 minute phone consultant on estate organizing. I’ll share with you your first next step.

How To Get Financially Organized Part 1

Do you panic when it comes to tax time?

Do you dream of having all of your important papers ready at any given moment for the bank?

Like when you are going for a loan or mortgage.

If your house was on fire what would you grab?

The interesting thing is almost everyone interviewed says their photos. No one ever says their important documents. In fact both are very hard to replace if not almost impossible.

Why not set up a system that is easy to grab? Yes for the most part things will be on your computer however I have found that people still like to have a paper trail. I think it is because we feel more in control if we have that important document in our hands and then we can file it. We can see it at a quick glance and more importantly we can touch it. What do you think? Please leave it in the comment box below.

We are still not a paperless society. There are certain things that we need handy in paper format like a power of attorney or a will.

In order to get financially fit I would suggest watching this quick video (Part One) and then follow these simple Getting It Together’s Top 5 tips on how to get financially organized.

Tip #1: Set up a small and I mean small file cabinet or portable file box. The reason you want to keep it small is so you will toss out the outdated information as the new information comes in.

Create File Folders for:

  • Savings Account
  • Chequing account
  • Credit Card accounts (I suggest having two credit cards especially if you travel)
  • Retirement accounts
  • Mortgage
  • Investment accounts
  • Insurance: life, critical illness, disability, home and car
  • Loans
  • Will and power of attorney
  • Tax return from past yr and current yr.
  • Miscellaneous

I personally have all these important documents in a binder. My executor knows exactly where it is and what is in it. 1to31-4663 medThis will make her job easier when the time comes for her to deal with my affairs. Being this organized with your important papers is a gift you give to the people who are left to deal with your affairs. There is nothing worse than trying to find all the important papers while grieving.

Tip #2: Set up online banking and telephone banking. Like it or not sooner than later we will have to do 90% of our banking online and why not? It is a great way to save time. You can do all of your banking while the kids sleep or on your coffee break at work.

Tip #3: Set up automatic bill payments. The best thing I ever did to get financially organized was setting up all of my bills to be pre-authorized to go on my visa. Then once a month my Visa gets paid automatically from my account. Yes it is important to check your credit card statement to make sure that all of the purchases are yours. You can do that online before it gets paid. If you set up this system it is important to pay your credit card off in full each month. The last thing you want is to be paying interest on your phone bill etc. The best part is you get extra travel miles if you collect those.

If you are not comfortable with automatic bill payments then set yourself up a little area in your home where you pay bills. Is it in the kitchen or do you have a small office area? Make sure you have the supplies required.

  • Stamps
  • Envelopes
  • Pens
  • Paper
  • Return address labels
  • Shredder
  • Recycle bin.

Once the bill is paid file it until the next months bill comes in at which point you can shred the last months bill. There is no need to keep a life time of phone bills. Even if you are in business for yourself you only have to keep 7 years worth. All major companies keep a record of our bills should you ever need an old statement.

Tip #4: Reduce banking fees. Check with your bank to see how you can reduce monthly banking fees. If I keep a balance of $1000.00 or more in my account I avoid all fees. If you are a senior you might be able to avoid fees. Each bank has different policies. Shop around to get the best deal for you.

Tip #5: Use your 1to31 system. Don’t have one yet? Check it out at www.1to31.com

If you are still getting paper bills file them under the date in which they need to be paid. The 1to31 is the best place to keep track of them.

By |April 14th, 2015|Blog, Financial Management, Organizer, Tax Organization|0 Comments

Do You Need to Hire a Professional Organizer?

Are you suffering from too much stuff in too small a space, too much stuff in a large space or simply too much stuff?

Do you have trouble locating important information in your office?

Can you find what you are looking for without getting stressed out?

Do you lose your keys, phone, eye glasses or kids?

Do you need to hire a professional organizer?


 Check out this video to see.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever thought “there has got to be a better way to manage all your papers”?
  • Is it a challenge for you and your family to get out the door on time each morning?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed?
  • What is your stress level? Would you like it lower?
  • Are you embarrassed to have friends or family over?
  • How would you feel if the neighbours dropped in unexpectedly?
  • Does it take you more than 20 seconds to find what you are looking for?
  • Would you like systems?
  • Would you like your kids to be more organized?

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, it might be time to hire a professional organizer.

I know of a really great one! 😀

I will encourage, support and empower you with moving forward in getting organized and staying clutter free. I will support and encourage you with the purging of stuff.  Most importantly I will give you your life back.

Let me know what area in your home is bugging you the most. Leave your bug list in the comment box below. I will give you a tip to get started right away with getting and staying clutter free.

Have you taken advantage of your FREE session yet?

If not then please ease on over HERE and let’s get started today.

We can discuss if you need to hire a professional organizer, or if you need some productivity coaching sessions or maybe you need just a little pep talk.

 Either way I am here to support, encourage and empower you with moving forward.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Organizer

Have you ever thought about the benefits of hiring a professional organizer?

How many times have you said to yourself “why can I not do this on my own?”

Many clients comment on reduced stress, more time, more energy and more freedom once they have worked with me.

So I thought I would share even more of the benefits of hiring a professional organizer.

Please be sure to take a moment to watch this short video on what are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer.

The benefits of working with me a professional organizer is that I will keep you focused to task.

I will be on time.

I will develop a plan of action for you and your space. If you require a handyman, contractor for renovationss, painter, rubbish removal, disposing of stuff or a piano moved I will provide the people. My endless supply of resources has proven to be priceless. So my clients say.

A huge benefit of working with a professional organizer is being ruthless.

I have a few key questions I ask you as we are sorting, purging and tossing. This makes the decisions a little easier for you. Shall you keep it, toss it, store it, sell it or set up a system for it?

Many clients feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders once they start decluttering.

If you would like to hear more benefits of hiring a professional organizer then please take advantage of my FREE session. Simply click HERE.

We will discuss your needs, your questions and how I can be of service to you.

If you like this video, click the “like” button and then share it with your friends.  And if you’re not in the “Getting it Together” community, enter your name and email address to the right and get on the list.  You’ll get instant access to a free ebook that outlines a simple 10-day plan for organizing 10 different areas of your home in 15 minutes or less.

Getting It Together FAQ’s – Part 2

Thank you for all of your questions. You know I love hearing from you. The interesting thing is that most people share very similar questions and concerns when it comes to clearing the clutter and getting organized.

Please keep those questions coming. Together we can help each other.

Q- What should I do with those plastic bags that a set of sheets comes in? I hate to toss them because they have the zipper closure and look so handy.

A- You are right! They can be handy. I have used those bags to store my good round baking tins. I find by putting them in the bag they do not get scratched. They are easy to see and store. I have also used those bags with my clients. We put all electrical cords in one. Again easy to see.

I don’t know about you but I have NEVER been able to get the set of sheets back in those bags. Have you?

Q- How can I tell my friends and family to stop buying me presents? I just do not need anything and I am trying to downsize.

A- Most grownups do not “need” anything. We are all so blessed. Many years ago I sent a letter to all my friends explaining that I was no long going to give gifts. Instead I wanted to make memories with them. They were all so happy to get this letter because they never knew what to buy me or their other friends. Now we get together for lunch, a movie, or have our nails done. Anything that is memory making and consumable. Be the first to start a trend. Think consumable!

Q- How many sets of towels should I have?

A- This depends on the number of people in the house. I would recommend 2- 3 bath towels per person, 1-2 hand towels per person and 5-7 face cloths per person. Most homes have a washer these days. If you go to the laundromat then you might want a couple of extras. Use one bath towel per person per week. It is better for the environment and laundry bill. Use one face cloth per person per day. The common used hand towel can be changed every few days.

I can never figure out how the hand towel can get so dirty when we are drying our clean hands! I keep a few “older” towels on hand for when we are heading off to the pool or beach.

Q- What can I do with all the recycling my local garbage company does not pick up?

A- Do you live in the Metro Vancouver Area? If so, you know your local company only picks up plastic, tins, glass and paper. Here are a couple of options. Call BC Recycling Hotline 604-RECYCLE (604-294-7972) or take your items to a local recycling depot. There is one in Burnaby at 4800 Still Creek Ave or once a month you can go to Britannia Center in Vancouver. Check out their site at http://www.pacificmobiledepots.com/Mobile-Depot-Info-Rates.html

Treat yourself to a nice coffee after.

Q- How can I tell if I am disorganized?

A- The rule is if you cannot find what you are looking for in 20 seconds or less you are considered disorganized. This might sound harsh. What it means is that if your keys are on the hook you’ll find them right away. If they are not then you might go searching. If your eye glasses are always put away in the same spot you will be able to find them. If they are not, it might take you longer than 20 seconds to find them.

What is your burning question? What is your biggest organizing obstacle? Inquiring minds want to know. Please leave a comment below or contact me at www.gettingittogether.ca for a FREE 30 minute phone consultation. We will discuss your burning question and how you can move forward with clearing the clutter.

5 Simple Steps To Get Your Tax Receipts Together

Are you self employed?

Do you have a pile of receipts on every corner of your desk, in every pocket or purse?

Have you ever wondered how to organize your receipts for taxes.

There is no time like the present to get a solid system in place. This system will save you hundreds of dollars in bookkeeping fees, hundreds of dollars in professional organizing fees and will save you loads of stress at tax time.

Below are my 5 simple steps to creating a receipt filing system to get you completely prepared (early!) for tax season!

taxTip #1: Get yourself a basic accordion file box.

I have used the same one for almost 3 decades. It is called “canceled check file”. Make labels of the appropriate tax deductions for your business.

Some common ones are:

  • Entertainment (taking clients out for coffee or a meal)
  • Car expenses (includes fuel, repairs, insurance)
  • Parking
  • Supplies (pens, paper, envelopes and so on)
  • Phone (including mobile devices)
  • Rent or Mortgage Costs
  • You may have other expenses. These are only a few of the main ones.

The key is to file all your receipts every other day or at least at the end of each week. I file mine while I have my phone headset on, taking to a friend or family member. Yes I can do both tasks when it comes to this one.

Tip #2: Your next step is to add up all of your receipts. It is best if this is done at the end of each month. This is where people get themselves into trouble. They leave it for months or even years on end then the task becomes overwhelming.

Take all your entertainment receipts, add them up, and staple them together with the total on the front. Do this for each file you have set up.

Tip #3: Send all your collated receipts to your bookkeeper. They will then do all the data input and have spreadsheets ready for your account. I send 3 months worth at a time to my bookkeeper.

If you are totally electronic you can do this step yourself and simply input your receipts in the computer program you are using. Even basic computer programs like Excel will do all the totals for you.

Tip #4: Once a year, yes that is right once a year, pay a visit to your accountant and get your taxes filed on time. One of the most common items I come across while conducting hands-on organizing is overdue tax returns. The tax department does not like it when people do not file their tax returns. There are huge fines involved and BIG red flags go in front of your name.

Tip #5: Store all receipts and tax returns in an out of reach area. (Check out my video on crawl spaces for some tips, click here.) I like to put them in a plastic container so they do not get dusty, wet or moldy. The requirement in most countries is to keep your past records for 7 years. Once you put in a new year take out the oldest year and shred it. If you are applying for a mortgage you might be asked to show your last 3 years of tax returns. This is another great reason to be organized.

How would you like a FREE downloadable List  of labels of all the appropriate tax deductions for your business? Please contact me and we will set up a complimentary no-obligation 30-minute phone call on how to move forward with your dreams, goals and resolutions. If you arrange your FREE call with me, I will send this FREE list to you so you can get on the right path to organization.


Here’s to your success!