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The new year, full of promise, hope, new beginnings and resolutions.  It's a good time to organize your life, your paperwork, your home and clutter.  The newspaper ads are filled with storage boxes and containers, just to help you imagine a well-ordered world and spur you to purchase them.  More boxes for the new and old stuff accumulated through the holidays?  LOL.

We all know that life is also filled with uncertainty to a great extent.  And the worst thing is, most of us just aren't ready for the possibility that we or our close loved ones may suffer serious illness, incapacity or the ultimate call to eternity, without warning.  I do a lot of driving around as a mobile notary public, along the country highways and hills of Marin and Sonoma Counties.  I try not to think about the worst, yet I know that there is danger on all of these 2-lane, undivided highways, lurking around every bend where an inattentive driver could cross the line to disaster.

So, take a few minutes to do some truly useful organizing, for your loved ones and yourself.  If you were suddenly laid up in the hospital for a while, unable to speak, in tremendous pain and possibly unconsciousness, how would your family be able to cope with the necessities you usually take care of: e.g. banking, bill paying, communicating with the doctor about your choices for treatment, caring for your elderly parent or young child?  Not an easy thing to think about.  

But you can take practical steps such as writing down how to pay bills, combinations to safes or safe deposit boxes, a list of assets and insurance; organizing passwords for access to online accounts; creating basic legal documents to allow someone to act in your place if you were to become incapacitated...so many details that become horribly urgent and overwhelming during a family crisis.   

I wish everyone a safe and secure new year, filled with a multitude of good times and relatively few "what if's".
-JMR