by Edith Cody-Rice

This book by Quebec based financial advisor Catherine Rahal and designer/collaborator and Almonte resident Wendy Moenig should be in every adult home. Catherine Rahal addresses in clear and simple language the information you should leave for your family or executor in case of your incapacity or death. As she notes, we are reluctant to talk about either illness or death but certainly death, at least, comes to us all eventually. Many of us are woefully unprepared even for incapacity which may require a drastic change in circumstances.

Ms. Rahal presents her book in workbook form. She divides the organization of your affairs into categories: people (your family, executor, people who need to be notified in case of death), paper (documents including wills and powers of attorney, Do not resuscitate documents), digital footprint (websites you visit with attendant password including online accounts like PayPal), stuff and legacy items (physical items with monetary and/or emotional value) and your final wishes.

It is her contention and, in fact, the truth, that ferreting out necessary information and individual wishes in case of incapacity or death can be a labour of Sisyphus if that person has not left easily accessible records. In many cases, items of value are forgotten or lost, including bank accounts. The Bank of Canada alone holds $973 million in unclaimed bank accounts. You can search Unclaimed Balances – Bank of Canada,

Ms. Rahal gives you all the detailed information you need to start making those lists. You may make your own or use the lists that she includes in her book. She suggests saving the lists in paper form (which is permanent and unhackable) and potentially on a password protected USB key. You should revise the lists as circumstances dictate.  See the example from the people section below.

She also includes useful information about the handling of estates in various, principally Canadian jurisdictions and suggestions of agencies to contact.

The book’s approach is personable but the message is clear. This is work that must be done and the information in the book and the accompanying lists tell you how to get to it. It does not all need to be compiled at one go but, over time, it must be compiled if you love those who will have to handle your affairs.

Oxygen Publishing Inc. 99 pages