I am sure that many of you are familiar with Dateline or the Investigation Discovery Channel and the many stories they cover of murders. Whether you watch these hour-long or two-part dives into these complex cases or not, you are probably familiar with how addicting they can be or how your friends or family members are hooked. The Dateline of today’s generation is true crime podcasts. With the surge in popularity of true crime podcasts, people’s minds are filled with stories of real-life serial killers, kidnappers, and other notorious evildoers in our world. One of the underlying themes, when someone goes missing, is that no one ever has access to the missing person’s files fast enough to find them before something truly devasting occurs. The notoriety of “the first 48 hours” is not just a dramatic catchphrase, the first 48 hours are extremely critical in an investigation of someone who has gone missing.
Now even though most of us will not be missing because of kidnap or murder, we do need to prepare our families for when we are “missing” because of our death or disability. Therefore it is a good idea to not only prepare your estate planning documents to protect you and your family in the event of incapacitation or death, but you should also prepare “an if I go missing file” to help your family increase their chances of locating the things that you know or are taking care of. The exercise of which can actually be excellent in creating a file that would be extremely helpful for someone to have access to in the case of your death or incapacitation as well. One of my favorite podcasts, Crime Junkie, introduced me to the idea of and emphasizes the importance of an “if I go missing file” and the producers of the show provide a downloadable version you can fill out. One of my friends once asked me why I wanted to fill it out and if I planned to go missing, my response: no one plans to go missing. Just as you likely are not planning your death or incapacitation, you still want an estate plan and to document the things you know that others in your family do not.