As hard as it is for all of us to “plan” for our deaths, doing so is actually one of the best things you can do for your family. Adding to their grief and pain by giving them no clue as to where to find your personal and business paperwork should not be a memory you leave behind.
Gather the following information in a folder and let your family know where they can find it in case you die unexpectedly or have a health crisis:
Advisors – Provide the name and contact information of any financial advisors, including attorneys, estate planners, CPAs, accountants, etc.
Bank Accounts and Safety Deposit Boxes – Bank name and account numbers for each bank where you have an account. Include PIN numbers for online banking. If you have a personal banker, include his or her name as well, with contact information. If you have a safety deposit box, record the name of the bank, the box number as well as contents of the box and location of the key.
Investment And Retirement Accounts – For investment accounts, provide the name of the brokerage, your personal broker, the location of your statement file, account and PIN numbers. For retirement accounts, provide contact information for plan administrators as well as account and PIN numbers.
Insurance – For all your policies – health, home, car, life, long-term care – provide the name and contact information for the agents as well as account numbers.
Health care – For your health care providers, give contact information for physicians, Medicare information and any other gap coverage you may have.
House – If you still have a mortgage on your home, provide information on your lender and payment due dates. Also provide the location of deeds and property titles. Include contact information for any home service providers – cleaning help, lawn care, etc.
Credit Cards – Make a photocopy of both sides of each credit card and provide balance and payment information.
Vehicles – Provide information on where titles and registration information are kept. Make a photocopy of your driver’s license as well.
Personal – Include a list of your friends and neighbors with email and phone contact information as well as all your email account log-ins and passwords.
This last “gift” on your part will go a long way toward helping your family cope in the immediate aftermath of your death or incapacitation, and ensuring you leave a lasting legacy of love and financial security.