What is a Death Folder?
A death folder is a packet that contains important documents or info your loved ones will need after your death or in the event you become incapacitated. The packet can be digital or physical and typically contains files like your trust, various account information, financial details, and more. Your loved ones will need these files to make it easier to manage your estate and carry out your wishes. Being able to easily access this info may also allow your family to receive any inheritance more quickly. Creating an organized folder that keeps important records in one place is a great way to reduce stress on your loved ones after your death and make the distribution of your property easier.
Store Insurance Information, Financial Documents, and More
What should you put in the folder? The folder should store the papers your family will need in order to ensure your personal and financial property are distributed as you wish. The documents listed below are commonly included. A lawyer can also help you make a list of everything you need to include.
Your will is a legal file that lists your wishes for your property, who will care for any minor children, who is responsible for distributing your assets, and other details. Access to this document is crucial for making sure your requests are carried out and your assets are properly distributed. You should also include any other estate planning files you have, such as a living trust, power of attorney, or advance healthcare directive. If you don’t have a plan, an attorney from Taneff Law can help you create one.
Include information on your life insurance company and life insurance policy, as well as any other policies you might have, such as for your vehicle, home, or health. This will make it easier for your family to manage or close the accounts as needed.
If your beneficiaries are entitled to your pension, keep policy info like the policy number and contact information handy. This may help your beneficiaries receive payments faster.
Important contact information:
Your family may need to contact your lawyer, financial advisor, or other professional for access to records. Keep a list of contact information for these people and anyone else who might need to be contacted.
Keep account information for bank accounts in the folder so the money can be accessed and properly distributed. It’s also helpful to include financial info for credit card accounts, investment accounts, and mortgage and loan documents.
If you own a business, you could include information about business ownership and anything else people would find helpful to know regarding your business.
Keep a list of utility or service providers for your home, such as gas, electric, water, trash, phone and internet providers. This will make it easier for your family to pay any remaining bills and know which accounts should be closed.
Titles and deeds:
Include automobile titles and property deeds so they can be transferred to new owners in the future.
Other important documents:
You may also want to keep handy your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and passport. A lawyer at Taneff Law can help you create a list of all the files you should include in your folder.
Location of assets and documents:
Make a note of where important items or heirlooms are located, as this will make it easier to find and distribute your personal items per your will. If there are documents that you don’t want to keep in the folder, leave detailed instructions for where people can find them.
Keep a file that lists online account login information for your bank accounts, insurance accounts, and other sites people will need to access. If you keep important files on your computer, it can be helpful to create a list of steps that explains where your loved ones will find the files they need. You might also consider including passwords to your social media accounts and instructions for what you would like to happen to the accounts after you die.
Planning and Organizing Your Folder
Keeping important files as organized as possible makes it easier for your loved ones to find the information they need following your death. When creating a folder, first decide if you’ll use a physical binder or a digital folder. Either will work, but if you go with the digital option, be sure to leave instructions on how to access it, including login information and where on your computer the files are located. Then, decide how you’ll keep everything organized. Think about different sections or tabs that will keep the pages more organized, and consider including a table of contents and individual page numbers to make it faster to find specific documents. If using digital files, be sure to clearly name each file.
Make a list of the different documents people might need after you die. The list we have provided is a great starting point, and working with a lawyer can help ensure you have the best list possible based on your unique life circumstances. Once you have a list ready, start collecting and organizing the information. Tell someone you trust where they can find the organized files in the event of your death.
Get Help with Estate Planning
If creating a folder for “in case of death” seems daunting, contact the team at Taneff Law. We can help you determine which files your loved ones may need at the end of your life. We can also assist you in other areas of estate planning, which is the process of determining what happens to your personal belongings and finances after your death and who will care for your dependents.
In a will, you can express your wishes for the future, including which of your belongings will go to which people. If you have assets for a beneficiary but don’t want them distributed immediately, you can set up a trust that dictates when those assets will be distributed and who will be responsible for managing them in the meantime. With a power of attorney, you can declare which person has permission to make decisions on your behalf if you’re dead or incapacitated. These are just some of the legal documents that can help ensure your requests are followed at the end of your life. Creating plans ahead of time also means there’s one less thing for your family and friends to worry about during an already difficult time.
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