Program Overview

The Great Big Gift

Creating Peace of Mind for You and Your Loved OnesOrganizing Your Personal, Financial, and Estate Records with Greater Ease and Support

Program Structure

The Great Big Gift is a program of four web teleconference meetings over two months. You can call in from a phone or computer. Optional TGBG Freebies are offered for ongoing support. These are regularly scheduled free meetings for any current or prior participant to report progress, and for anyone who would like to know more about The Great Big Gift.

The goal of the program is to complete as much as you can in the organizing tool of your choice – The Everything Binder (more information below) or some other option. Participants prioritize what they would like to accomplish in the four meetings. Some may get everything in order within two months; others can make a solid start and finish as they are able with continuing support. Susan Sanford does not offer legal, financial, or tax advice or planning. What she does offer is structure, support, and encouragement for attending to these and other areas of your life.

Program Content

If it were easy to get your personal, financial, and estate records organized you would have done it by now. It’s a huge endeavor. So afford yourself the respect of thinking of the process as a “Hero’s Journey.” It is a challenge and it really is doable. Always remember that anything is better than nothing. Every smidgen of information you capture is worthwhile.

The four meetings of The Great Big Gift adapt key elements of the Hero’s Journey as identified by mythologist, writer, and lecturer Joseph Campbell, and dramatized by filmmaker Matthew Winkler in the animated short film What Makes a Hero? (less than 5 minutes).

  • Meeting 1 – Preparation & Support
  • Meeting 2 – Challenges
  • Meeting 3 – Solutions
  • Meeting 4 – Onward!
  • TGBG Freebies – Optional free meetings to report progress, and for sharing information with people who would like to know more about The Great Big Gift

The meetings are interactive web teleconference calls, with a maximum of 15 participants. Past participants agree that there is great value in the group interaction, and the regular calls help you stay on track to accomplish your goals between meetings.

Meetings provide resources for:

  • how to get started
  • how to prioritize
  • how to keep going
  • addressing thoughts and feelings that may arise during the process
  • appreciating every step of your progress

It’s important to understand that this organizing will never all be “done” because life and circumstances are ever changing. So do what you can, whenever you can, and know that this will always be a work in progress.

Getting this done brings me peace of mind. It’s going to make life easier for whoever has to deal with it after my husband and I are gone, and to me that’s really huge having been executor for two wills in the last two years.

~ Alix, London, U.K.


While participants are free to choose their organizer option, The Everything Binder by Michelle Perry Higgins (more information below) is the primary resource for The Great Big Gift. If you have questions about other options, contact Susan at Susan has no financial interest in sales of The Everything Binder or any other organizer option.

Participants agree to obtain an organizer (or be ready with one they are already using) by the start of the program if possible, and understand that if they choose to use an option different from The Everything Binder, meeting time might not be available to address questions about variations.

One area we discuss in The Great Big Gift program is protecting your security if you work electronically.

Feel free to contact Susan if you have questions about what option/s might work best for you. And if you need explanations of various documents and processes, you might find Nolo Press products helpful.

Nolo Press is a publisher of self-help legal books and software. It’s wise to have an attorney review any documents you prepare yourself to be sure they legally capture what you truly intend. And if you do work with an attorney, which is highly recommended given the complexity of estate planning, the knowledge you gain from a Nolo product can help you experience the maximum benefit of an attorney’s time and expertise. Some Nolo titles that might be relevant are below. Many are available as downloadable eBooks in different formats. See Nolo website for more titles.

  • Estate Planning for Blended Families
  • The Executor’s Guide – Settling A Loved One’s Estate or Trust
  • Get It Together – Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To – This is an organizer alternative or complement to “The Everything Binder,” especially if you need explanatory information about what’s what.
  • Make Your Own Living Trust
  • Plan Your Estate
  • Quicken WillMaker Plus 2017 (Windows or Mac software)
  • The Trustee’s Legal Companion


IMPORTANT NOTE: As of August 2018, The Everything Binder production is in flux. A new version, The Everything Notebook, is due out in the coming months. It will be a notebook, not a binder, and will not have an electronic (CD) option. Contact Susan for more info: IGNORE INFO BELOW. It will be updated when new info is finalized.

The Everything Binder – Financial, Estate & Personal Affairs Organizer

by Michelle Perry Higgins

There are three versions at different prices

  1. The Everything Binder – CD only
  2. The Everything Binder Lite – CD plus physical binder plus printed tabs – you print pages
  3. The Everything Binder – CD plus physical binder plus printed tabs plus all pages to fill in by hand

You can enter information into the PDF you download from the CD, then print out. Contact Susan at if your computer does not have a CD drive and you want to work electronically.