The 25 Documents You Will Need Before You Die

Organizing Your Death Folder

Have you ever thought about how you would like your affairs to be left in the event of your sudden death?

I have been working with expatriates around the world for the past 11 years. Having done so, I have found that it is common for important documents to be scattered across different locations.

Some are with us, wherever we are. Some are in our office. We keep some with our parents. Some may be in a safe deposit box somewhere.

Sound familiar?

The trouble with this is that in the event of sudden death it creates huge problems for those that survive us at a time when they really need things to be as simple as possible.

That is why having a “death folder” with all of your important documents in it is so important.

With that in mind, here is a list of 25 documents that you should collect in order to make things easier for those you leave behind.

Birth, Marriage and Divorce

1. Personal birth certificate

2. Marriage licence

3. Divorce papers

4. Birth certificate/adoption papers for minor children

Life Insurance and Retirement

5. Life insurance policy documents (including beneficiary nominations)

6. Personal pension documents

7. Employer pension details

8. Annuity documents

9. Details of any entitlement to state pensions

Bank Accounts

10. List of bank accounts

11. Details of safe deposit boxes

Proof of Ownership

12. Property, land and cemetery deeds

13. Mortgage details

14. Proof of loans made

15. Proof of debts owed

16. Vehicle ownership documents

17. Stock certificates, brokerage accounts, investment platform details

18. Details of premium bonds, government bonds, investment bonds

19. Partnership and corporate operating/ownership agreements (including offshore companies)

20. Tax returns


21. Will

22. Instruction letter

23. Trust documents

24. Burial/cremation wishes


25. List of names and contact numbers for: Financial adviser, doctor, lawyer/solicitor, accountant, insurance broker.

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget to somehow collect details of your on-line life. As more and more of our lives move on-line, these need to be kept together.

You should keep a list of your usernames/passwords for your e-mail accounts, online bank accounts and social media accounts (so that someone can close them down).

Isn’t keeping all of this stuff together risky?

If these documents were to fall into the wrong hands, yes. Identity theft is a serious issue and you should do all that is in your power to keep these documents safe.

However, having everything in one place should make keeping your documents secure easier as opposed to having to track them if they scattered around the world.

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  1. EEA Slammed by Auditor | Expat Financial Cents - July 10, 2013

    […] Organizing Your Death Folder […]

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