Melanie Cullen
  • Female
  • Davis, California
  • United States
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Melanie Cullen

Get It Together Now

Welcome to Get It Together Now, a new column about organizing your important records—for yourself and, eventually, for your loved ones.

Melanie Cullen is the author of Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To (Nolo), a workbook/CD-ROM for preparing and organizing your important records—for yourself and for your loved ones. To help you organize your records, Melanie has created a companion binder; for purchase information, please visit her Web site at

Melanie is a management consultant with TerraSys Consulting, Inc. and serves on the Projects@Work editorial board. She holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Melanie Cullen's Blog

Direction for Your Loved Ones

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 9:00am 1 Comment

When something happens to you, where do they start?

On a sunny spring morning, my husband and I relaxed on a train crossing France, enjoying the scenery, our books, and cappuccinos. After 10 days of vacation, we were still, serene, and looking forward to time with family.


At the same time, at our route’s end, my daughter was increasingly concerned about our whereabouts and arrival. To my (later) chagrin, I had forgotten to forward our itinerary…


Emergency Evacuation: Grabbing Your Important Records

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 11:00am 0 Comments

Routinely, but sadly, the news reports of residential emergencies—a fire in a family home, regional fires destroying dozens of homes, tremendous storms and flooding. Some of you reading this have experienced home disasters firsthand, living through a frantic evacuation, severe loss of home and personal items, and the uphill climb of rebuilding. All this can…


Accessing the Deceased's Financial Accounts

Posted on April 1, 2011 at 3:00pm 1 Comment

How will they access my bank and brokerage accounts?

When you die, or if you are incapacitated, your loved ones will need to access your financial accounts. In the case of your incapacitation, someone will manage your finances, including paying bills, depositing any checks, managing necessary financial transactions (e.g., purchases, deposits, sales,…


Electronic Bill Pay

Posted on February 25, 2011 at 4:00pm 1 Comment

How will your loved ones track those “invisible” bill-pay charges?

Over time, I have set up automatic payment for several of my bills:

• My monthly mortgage bill is paid by a recurring, automatic charge (direct debit) to my checking account. Two insurance premiums are paid the same way.

• Other bills are automatically charged to my major credit card:…


Benefits of Getting Organized

Posted on December 17, 2010 at 5:00pm 1 Comment

How will getting organized now benefit you over time, time after time?

When my mother died, I was awash in questions, grief, tasks, decisions—and all of that layered on top of my already-busy life far from Mom’s home. I decided then that I will not put my loved ones through the same ordeal when I die. I went home and…


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