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.
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
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
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 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.