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10+ Things for Your Stay-at-Home To-Do List

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Stuck at home more than usual and getting a little bored? We have some ideas for your stay-at-home to-do list. The world, we hope, never shuts down like this again, so take advantage of time standing still and get your estate planning affairs in order. Assuming you have an estate plan, complete it and get organized so that, if/when the time comes, your loved ones know your wishes and can easily carry them out:

The Top Three

1) Review your plan. Take out your documents, read them, make sure you understand how they work. Check to ensure that the location of the originals is clearly noted; that your beneficiaries (including charities) and family members are correctly identified; and that signatures and initials (yours, witnesses’, and the notary’s) are in the proper places and can be read. Consider whether you want to make changes. (For instance, does your health-care directive say anything about ventilators or machines that provide breathing assistance? Do you still feel the same way now that ventilators are key to Covid-19 treatment?)

2) If you have a trust. Is it properly funded? Do you know? Review deeds, bank account titles, and beneficiary designations to ensure they are up to date.

3) If you don’t have at trust. Understand what your Will (or laws of intestacy) controls and what it doesn’t. Consider whether your estate may require a probate proceeding. Check bank and brokerage titles and beneficiary designations to ensure they are up to date.

No. 4 Is a Big One

4) Tangible personal property. If you have a Will or trust, consider filling out a personal property list. (We strongly recommend it!) First, find the provision in your document that allows you to designate giving personal items by list and follow its instructions; otherwise, it might not be enforceable. (Does it need to be signed, dated, in your own writing, etc.?)

If you already have a list, review it. If you don’t have a list or want to update it or do additional lists, this is a great item for your stay-at-home to-do list. Remember that these lists are for tangible personal property only. That means your stuff: jewelry, collectibles, art, clothing, furniture, family memorabilia, mementos, etc. Not bank accounts, not cash, not real estate.

Make sure all items and recipients are easily identifiable. (Can other people read your writing?!)

Consider supplementing with photographs of the items, appraisals, or your thoughts about how you acquired the items and whether you believe they have value. (Your story can transform something that has little value into a priceless memory of you.)

Done? Place it with your other documents so it will be found. Consider providing a copy to your estate planning attorney for your file.

Five More

5) Funeral/burial wishes. Have you made your wishes known? Purchased a plan? Make sure the paperwork can be found. Consider music, readings, jello recipes for the reception.

6) Contacts. Update lists: Who would you want contacted or who might need to be contacted in an emergency or at your death? Make a list and include phone numbers. Include family, friends, tax preparer, clergy, estate planning attorney, financial adviser, veterinarian, etc.

7) Touch base. Does your agent know he/she is named? Do they still want to do the job? Do they know what you really want? Make some calls.

8) Inventory 1. Take stock of your financial life. List all accounts; credit cards, insurance policies; income sources, including government benefits; and outstanding loans owed to or by you. List the institution, type of account, contact number, approximate balance/amount of income and frequency. If there’s online access, list username and password. Indicate whether you get statements by e-mail and whether any payments, coming in or going out, are auto-pay.

9) Inventory 2. Take stock of non-financial digital life. List accounts, usernames and passwords. Consider whether the platform has a policy regarding your accounts/assets at death and decide whether to act on it.

10) Clean out. You do NOT need to retain all bank statements, pay stubs, utility bills, etc. for your entire lifetime. Do your loved ones a favor: Purge and shred. Here’s a guide to what to keep and how long.

A Few More

Don’t forget the little things, like the location of spare keys and security codes; pet and plant and pool care instructions; and little quirks like the fact that you keep extra cash in a secret soup-can safe.

Once you finish with these ideas for your stay-at-home to-do list, maybe the stay-at-home order will have lifted and we’ll all be back to normal to-dos: Target, the farmer’s market, the bank, the beauty shop. Those were the days.

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Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

Famous people's wills

Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.