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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Organizing Your Important Records - Great Help for an Often Overlooked Task
Let's be clear - this is not a time management book or a guide on how to set up your own family records retention and filing system - this is a book squarely aimed at the head of a household, whether you live on your own or with your family. And it lays out pretty clearly the why: someday you are going to be incapacitated or dead, and you do not want people's thoughts...
Published on December 26, 2010 by J. Avellanet

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in CD files
The material in this book seems comprehensive. I had to add a few things based on my own personal affairs but in all fairness, the book contemplates personalization. I am, however, disappointed in the digital files. The main reason I wanted a book like this was so I wouldn't have to create digital files myself. The RTFs are not true word processing files so data entry...
Published on October 8, 2011 by Virginia Walker


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Organizing Your Important Records - Great Help for an Often Overlooked Task, December 26, 2010
By 
J. Avellanet "of ComplianceZen" (Williamsburg, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
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Let's be clear - this is not a time management book or a guide on how to set up your own family records retention and filing system - this is a book squarely aimed at the head of a household, whether you live on your own or with your family. And it lays out pretty clearly the why: someday you are going to be incapacitated or dead, and you do not want people's thoughts of you to be sullied with frustration running something like "What a mess! Why couldn't he/she put his house in order? Where are the online account passwords? What do you mean that's in the safety deposit box? What safety deposit box?" and so on. This goes beyond estate planning (with its tax issues, and so on) to the crux of being responsible to your family and close friends.

And that's why I like this book. Here are some key points that I found extremely helpful in the book (all of this is to be recorded in the "important records planner" template provided in the book):

- For any program (like a 401(k), IRA, insurance, etc.) that doles out money list the names and SSNs of the beneficiaries and who has decision-making power if you are incapacitated; and who at the program (say your 401(k)) has been your main contact person
- The location of your safety deposit box (if you have one), a list of what *should* be in there, and where the key(s) are kept
- A password and online account list, including the list of security questions/answers (assuming you remember...)
- Location of any contracts or agreements (say for a rented storage area)
- Location of important equipment or household warranties, user manuals, etc.
- List of anyone (or any organization) that depends on you (including their relationship with you, contact information, what you provide and how often, etc.)

As you can see, these types of things should generate further points of consideration that can help you organize your files (e.g., "Ah...maybe I should keep all the household equipment warranties and user manuals together in a box").

And like any Nolo book, it's well-written and tells you precisely what you need to know as well as important tips to consider. One thing that should be appreciated is the ending of every chapter with a short section on how to keep the information up to date, and what triggers to consider (so if your investment advisor retires, that'd be time to go update the relevant info in your planner.

There are, however, three things that kept me from giving this book 5 stars:

1. I think the book is too focused on the over-55 crowd; there is too much retirement planning information in here and it takes away from the strength of the overall argument - how anyone can use the advice in this book to quickly get their important records together (or at least identified, located and documented).

2. As a result, the tactics and suggestions in this book will clearly help anyone use the records planner template provided to simply keep their day-to-day needs organized (For instance, how many times have you wondered, "Gee, now what was the password for that account?").

3. For all the comments and advice on making sure you note the location of various files and items, no where in the book does she state that you should also note the link (URL) of any online access items; given that you're going to be using a word processing software to document most of the above information (if you use the CD provided in the book), this is an oversight that may render keeping some of the online account information a bit irrelevant (it'd be like saying, "Here's the key to my safety deposit box #438," but then not saying where the box actually is...).

Those, however, are minor quibbles easily remedied in a 2nd edition. And they certainly should not stop you from considering this book. Personally, as someone who's spent a career doing records and information management, this has been helpful to me. Everyone can benefit from this book - especially those left trying to find the pieces of your life-in-process....
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in CD files, October 8, 2011
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This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
The material in this book seems comprehensive. I had to add a few things based on my own personal affairs but in all fairness, the book contemplates personalization. I am, however, disappointed in the digital files. The main reason I wanted a book like this was so I wouldn't have to create digital files myself. The RTFs are not true word processing files so data entry is more tedious than I had expected. The files were not created using a word processor as a form builder. Luckily the tables are true word processing tables so you can key directly into them. (I used MS Word.) The other blanks, however are simple lines and must be deleted as you enter data. There's no page numbering so I had to add that myself. I expected better.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete and very user-friendly, December 16, 2010
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This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the most comprehensive "system" I've seen yet. Not only is there a section for just about anything you can think of, there are things you may not have even thought about including. Having recently gone through estate settlement for one of our parents, we realized just how many things were needed and that needed to be easily accessible. We also realized things we'd want to have had or known, but didn't. It's too late now. But we can leave each other or our children in much better circumstances at a difficult time, just by taking the time to go through this book thoroughly.

Go through the first half of the book thoroughly for information and instructions. Then you'll be ready for the second part of the book - the actual plans-on-paper, customized by and for you. If you haven't already, take a moment to go back to the top of the product page and just read through the Table of Contents. That will give you a great overview of just how comprehensive this book is.

Included is a CD with all of the forms that are in the 2nd half of the book, so you can edit and easily reprint as needed in the future. Also, with the printed forms there will be no problem reading what you've written. The forms are in Rich Text Format (.rtf) so you can open them in almost any word processor and then save them in your preferred format. The book says it can be used by both Windows and Mac, though we can only vouch for the Windows version since we don't have a MAC.

This book will give you peace of mind. It will also make life much easier for those that have to come in after you're gone, as they try to figure out what's where, what you wanted, what you didn't want, and even your thoughts about your loved ones (there's a section to write letters to them). A reader would be wise in consulting one or more professionals in the process, but that will become evident as you go through the book (such as certified financial planners, trusted insurance agents, attorneys, funeral homes, cemeteries, etc.).

Be sure to let your executor, children, etc., know where the book and completed, printed forms are. We keep ours in one specific location, and our children even know what color and size to look for when they go to that location - no hunting through the house for it or trying to find out where our safe deposit box is, then find the key, only to find out it's not there. And no, it is NOT in our safe deposit box. In fact, there may be legal restrictions as to who can go into a safe deposit box, and for what purpose, after the owner's death - check with your bank and possibly your attorney. Find another safe place for these records that can be accessed by those that will need them, but one that is also secure (there will be information in it you would NOT want taken in the event your home is burglarized).

We give 5 stars only to those products we believe are the very best. "Very good" just gets 4 stars. This is clearly a 5-star book and should be owned and well used by almost anyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Create an essential resource for those who will handle your estate, January 19, 2011
By 
d bucci (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This year a close family member died accidentally so I found out first hand what it is like to try to locate assets and important financial documents. And also the costs and delays with probating an estate with no will. Even finding friends and contacts for the memorial was difficult because everything was in a cell phone that was no longer working or in a password protected email account.
Believe me this is something you don't want to burden your spouse or family with especially when they are already going to be under a great deal of stress.
This book will take you step by step with instruction and forms on the included CD to create a comprehensive financial guide for your family listing assets, accounts, contact information memberships, passwords, location of important documents as well as health care directive, burial or cremation, memorial services and much more.
Now that I have created a planner and a will for my family I know that they will have the tools and resources to help them handle what can be an overwhelming obligation at a very difficult time. I was surprised at how many accounts I have that are only handled online so there would have been no paper statements of any kind to alert anyone of the accounts existence.
You never think the worst is going to happen to you or anyone in your family but unfortunately sometimes it does and I feel much better that I have taken the time to create my planner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's 3" Thick and Stored in a Safe?, July 19, 2012
This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's finally finished. What I affectionately refer to as my "death notebook" (though it can be used for a number of other personal calamities, not just dying). But getting the notebook together wasn't the easiest thing in the world and, in fact, took over three months to compile and organize. And I'm certain it would have taken much longer if I didn't have 'Get It Together' as a reference.

Let me back up a little and explain that while I haven't personally been in a position to handle the affairs of someone after they've met with disaster or passed away, however, I have firsthand knowledge of how frustrating it can be to those who are left behind. Watching friends and family scrambling to compile estate documents or mitigate debt and a number of other things I didn't understand revealed just how important it is to be prepared. We may not care about it when we're dead and buried, but it's something the living most certainly will. And I wouldn't want to be remembered for the pile of trouble I left them with.

That's where 'Get It Together' steps in. Let me say up front, it's a dry read. Then again, it doesn't need to be all that entertaining as long as it provides the information you need in an easy to digest format, which it does. And it has checklists throughout to ensure you don't miss or overlook anything.

The book explains which documents you need to keep, how long you need to keep them, where you should store them, and how often to update them. It even gave me some ideas I hadn't thought about before, such as writing a good-bye letter to my family members. The content is general enough for anyone to use, but it's easy to customize to suit your own personal needs. Even more, this is one of those books that you can keep and reference as your needs evolve.

If you decide to take on such a project, you'll most likely need one or two 3" binders, dividers, sheet protectors (for those documents in which punching holes simply isn't feasible) and a fireproof safe large enough to accomodate the binder(s).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End-of-Life Planning For Every Family, July 30, 2011
This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
This book and accompanying CD teaches you how to organize your end-of-life documents so your family won't have to worry about all the nitty gritty details of wrapping up your final affairs when the inevitable day arrives.

You'll learn which records are the most important and where they should be stored for safekeeping. For example, you should have a single folder to keep a copy of your Will, birth certificate, a sheet with bank account numbers and passwords, safe deposit box key, a list of credits cards and how to access them online, insurance policy information (phone number, online access), marriage certificate, divorce papers, and the list goes on. It's the most comprehensive book of it's kind that I've ever read; covering nearly 30 subject categories of documentation that should be preserved and/or recorded.

The great thing about using a book like this to organize your documents in advance is that you have plenty of time to remember all the things the loved ones you leave behind need to know to make your departure as painless as possible.

The book wraps up with fill-in-the-blank worksheets to help you record essential information for your family. You'll find the handy worksheets contained in the book on the CD as well so you can print and reprint all the forms you need.

This much needed book is highly recommended for every adult who cares about the well-being of his or her family at one of the most sensitive times in their lives.

Joe Waynick, Author
"Internet Bookselling Made Easy!" series
[...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good For Someone Who Needs A Checklist, February 28, 2011
This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is pretty easy to find all the forms and organizational tools that you may need to organize your estate. However, some of us prefer checklists. I like to have an easy to follow guide that will make sure that I don't miss anything, and this book does that flawlessly. The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that you can even find these checklists online. So I'm not saying that you should pay for this book if you are good with computers, but if you can't find everything you need online, this book will give you an easy reference point from which to work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful organization tips, December 16, 2010
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This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this book very well organized and it contained helpful information and tips to organize your "life" in the event that someone else has to step in and either take care of you through power of attorney or wrap up your estate. Essentially there are two parts to this book Part 1 is a guide, which describes various scenarios and what information you need to gather together before proceeding. Part 2 is the planner and contains the forms where you actually record all the information you just gathered. ( and also it includes a CD with the forms on it) The planning section begins with all the forms / information your relatives will need immediately if you become incapacitated or die and progresses from there. When you complete the information forms though you don't necessarily have to start with that - but it's nice that it's organized that way for your relatives. There are 28 chapters in this guidebook which gives you an idea of how all encompassing this manual is. Covers every facet of things you might have, besides belongings - and what do you want done with it all anyway??? - to information you might not think to leave - who is your accountant, lawn service, pet walker - etc - who might need to be notified if something happens to you? What provisions have you made for your pets? What types of money do you receive? Social Security? Pension checks? Dividend checks? etc etc - who needs to be notified? Where is all your money kept? and very important section on passwords - ! I thought I had my things well organized but I learned alot - if I mentioned it all this review would be several paragraphs. The book is an excellent resource and I have already recommended it to several friends and had several conversations with people about the information in it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Time for Organization, December 16, 2010
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This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Nolo book & CD is a great, simplified, concise way to organize the truly important information that you and your loved ones will want to have available should something happen to you....or not.

My husband and I have looked at some organizers online and I found one that I thought was pretty good, but this book is far more complete, yet easy to accomplish. I haven't finished yet, but I have gotten started and that is the hard part!

The book is organized into sections so you can pick and choose what applies to you as far as financial information, will information, family situation, etc. It gives an excellent description of the things you should consider as well as suggestions at the front of the book. The back half of the book are fill-in forms that truly simplify the process and help you recall everything you want and need to include in order to have all your important information in one place.

I would recommend this for seniors, certainly, but also for younger adults who want to be sure to have everything squared away for their kids and/or spouse. Everyone can use a single place to store financial information, health care wishes, will requests, etc., as you just never know when it might be necessary.

Get it Together makes a potentially arduous process tolerable and doable and I highly recommend it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get It Together, December 16, 2010
This review is from: Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Get It Together is a suitable guide for adults in any country besides the United States of America and Canada. Regardless of age, this book offers information and forms to organize personal records that one would not ordinarily consider documenting.

The compact disc files are in Rich Text Format (.rtf), which are similar to Microsoft Word's Document Files (.doc). Users can easily input information onto the forms or print a blank Portable Document File (.pdf), and hand-write data; both options are available on the included disc.

Also, as a reminder, it is imperative to keep these records in a safe place.
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Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To
Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To by Shae Irving (Paperback - November 3, 2010)
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