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The “When I Die” File: Making the Hard Stuff Easier

Posted: Mateo Salmeron

Death is never an easy thing to prepare for or talk about. If you’re in the later stages in life, you may be wondering what you can do to help your loved ones once your time comes. A “When I Die” file can be a collection of documents that will help your loved ones gather your personal information and manage finances after you have passed. This file can contain more than just your typical estate documents. It can contain information relating to more nuanced items like internet bills, cell phone accounts, club memberships, and any ongoing bills. The file does not need to be a physical file either. It can be a cloud-based drive, a binder, even something as simple as a shoebox.

Here is a list of some things you might want to consider adding to this file:

  • Advance Directive that’s signed (and notarized if necessary)
  • A Will & Living Trust (w/certificate of trust)
  • Marriage or divorce certificates
  • Password Storage for phone, computer, email, and social media
  • Instructions for your funeral and final disposition
  • An ethical will
  • Letters to loved ones
  • Bank and credit card accounts
  • Loan documents
  • Automobile titles
  • Property deeds
  • Copies of keys for automobiles/deposit boxes, etc.
  • Insurance Documents (Beneficiaries & Declaration pages)
  • Auto-draft payments/Bills
  • List of Key people with contact information (i.e. Financial Advisor, CPA, Estate Planning Attorney, etc.)

A couple of things to expand on in this list are the password storage and ethical will. Something to consider with your password management is keeping a master sheet for storage. Online password managers have become more popular at storing the many passwords we have to keep track of. An ethical will is meant to help pass on immaterial things to your loved ones. These immaterial things include life lessons and values you had during your life. This document is meant to compliment and explain any decisions that were made on your last will and testament.

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