Death and taxes. Those are both things most of us don’t like to think about. But as the saying goes, they are the only certainties in life. When it comes to taxes, we do think about them every year, because it’s the law. Death, not so much.

But it’s actually important to think about what you want to happen to your money and possessions when you move on to the Great Beyond. No matter what age you are, it’s a good idea to organize your documents, and create a plan so that your family and friends know what to do in the event that you meet your maker. (Or bite the big one. Buy the farm… whatever term you prefer.) It probably won’t be anytime soon, but it’s better to be prepared than not. 

Here are the basic steps to ‘get your affairs in order’ (yes, that sounds weird, we know.).

  1. Take an inventory of your assets

Making a list of all of your assets and investments is a key step to get your affairs in order. This means everything of value you own, including: 

  • Property (land, homes, etc. Also include any mortgage information.)
  • Vehicles: cars, boats, motorcycles, jet skis, snowmobiles, etc. Note the VINs and any loan information, and include the titles and copies of the registration documents.
  • Accounts: retirement (IRAs, 401(k)s, pension, investment, savings, money market, and any other sources of income or interest.
  • Insurance policies: life insurance, homeowners, car, and any other policies you have.
  1. Log your debts and obligations

Make a list of all of your debts, loans, and expenses like alimony and child support. Be sure to include account numbers and any contact information for creditors or administrators, as well as the due dates for each payment.

  1. Make a last will and testament

Yes, just like in the movies. It sounds really dramatic, but even if you don’t have a lot of money or assets, a will is important. It makes everything much easier for your loved ones, and helps them avoid stress and conflict. There are resources you can use to draft your own will for free

Then, think about who you might want to name as your estate executor—it should be someone you trust to make sure the terms of your will are carried out the way you want.

  1. Create a living will

In addition to your last will and testament, it’s a good idea to create a living will when you get your affairs in order. That’s a document where you explain your end-of-life wishes—that way, your family and friends will know what you want in terms of life-saving and resuscitation measures in case you’re not conscious or able to communicate them. Along with the living will, you might want to set up a durable power of attorney, designating someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if needed.

  1. Consider life insurance

If you have a family and you don’t already have life insurance, it’s a good idea to look into it. There are a lot of policies that don’t cost very much and are a good way to protect your loved ones financially in the event of your death.

  1. Talk with your family and friends

After you get all of this information together, put it all in one place. It should be somewhere safe, and you should tell close friends or family members where it is. You might also want to talk with your family or friends about all of this, so that they understand your wishes and you can answer any questions they may have.

It may seem like a hard conversation to have, but it’s helpful for both you and your loved ones to have the peace of mind of knowing that they know your plans and your wishes.