As older parents approach death, they often leave lengthy to-do lists for their children. The tasks can be both physical and financial. Some children must deal with a tangle of arrangements—everything from heating-oil contracts to trusts—along with jumbled stock certificates, car titles or life-insurance policies for which there may be no backup copies. Others must sift through boxes or rooms full of belongings.One of the best gifts that parents can leave their children is an organized life. Harried heirs often must sort through decades of memories and clutter, clueless about items' significance. Of course, it's better to communicate the details of one's estate while one is alive, but that's a difficult conversation that understandably keeps getting postponed.
It seems that the purpose of life is to accumulate stuff through middle age, then spend the remainder of one's years getting rid of most of it, then organizing what's left.