While it may be tough to contemplate, the fact is that we will all die at some point. It’s important to have end of life document organizer because when that moment comes, the most difficult jobs are assigned to the people we care about the most. Avoiding the subject may leave you without a strategy, which will make things more difficult for your friends and family once you’ve left. They may be unaware of your preferences or unable to locate key paperwork, making things more costly and complex for those left in charge. Taking the time to design your legacy helps you to give yourself and others you care about a meaningful experience.
To make it easier for your loved ones to take care of your affairs, start by gathering all of the paperwork they’ll need in an end-of-life binder or folder.
Keep an end of life document organizer
Keeping all of your vital documents in one location and ensuring that your family knows where to locate them is a good place to start.
- You can keep a few important documents in your wallet, such as your driver’s license and Medicare card. Anything you don’t require on a daily basis, on the other hand, can be saved in an end-of-life folder.
- Because your end-of-life document folder may include sensitive information, you should keep it safely, such as in a locked file cabinet drawer, a home safe, or a bank safety deposit box.
- If you’d prefer to retain everything digital, you may upload your end-of-life papers to cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Make sure your papers are secure and that the right individuals have access to them, no matter where you store them.
Documents to save in your end-of-life filing cabinet
It’s difficult to know which papers your loved ones may need access to, especially if you’ve never considered it before. You should consult an estate planning attorney, a financial planner, and a qualified funeral director.
We’ve included some of the most crucial papers that your loved ones may want, as well as why they’re necessary, below. Please feel free to use this list as a checklist or end-of-life planning template to help you get your affairs in order.
Many of us put off creating a will because it makes us feel uneasy or we don’t know where to begin. Just keep in mind that you may always add to it.
In other words, your will can specify who receives what and how your assets are distributed. You have the option of naming an executor, who is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the will are carried out appropriately. Those with small children should make a list of their chosen guardians and inform them of their responsibilities.
In most places, you’ll need the assistance of an attorney to draft a will and verify that it complies with legal requirements.
Certificate of appointment
If you have designated an estate executor or other fiduciary to manage your affairs after your death, you can include the certificate of appointment with the rest of your end-of-life documentation to make it clear who will be handling your estate and processing claims, etc.
You can include two documents in your end-of-life folder to guarantee that your medical intentions are carried out.
- You can designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf with a healthcare power of attorney.
- A healthcare directive (sometimes known as a living will) permits you to make specific healthcare decisions right now. If you don’t want to be kept alive if there’s no possibility of recovery, for example, your healthcare directive can help you communicate that.
When you pass away, your estate executor will utilize your financial details to finalize your affairs.
Compile statements and keep track of logins for the following:
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
To determine the destination of the funds in your accounts, consult with your estate planning attorney. Do you want all of your assets to go to your estate and be dispersed through probate, which can take a year or more, or do you want to name beneficiaries who would get monies immediately after you pass away? Whatever the case may be, you’ll want your financial information to be well-organized and accessible to loved ones.
Your insurance providers will need to be contacted by friends or relatives to ensure you are no longer being billed. If you have life insurance, your beneficiaries will need to make a claim before they may start receiving payments. You can choose beneficiaries for health, property, vehicle, and life insurance to make this procedure easier. For each insurance provider, keep a record of policy information and login credentials.
Social Security card
When you die away, your family may be entitled to survivor benefits. They’ll require your Social Security number if this is the case. Many individuals leave their Social Security card in their wallets, but it’s best to keep it secure alongside the rest of your end-of-life documentation.
Include any valuable items you own, such as artwork, collectibles, automobiles, and real estates such as houses or farms. If you don’t transfer ownership of these assets before you die, they will most likely go through probate or be passed on to co-owners. Most married couples, for example, own their house jointly with their spouse, who becomes the sole owner upon death. A lawyer who specializes in estate planning can assist you with specialized techniques for dealing with significant assets.
Marriage certificate or domestic partnership agreement
It’s comforting to know that if you leave a spouse or partner behind, they’ll be financially supported. A marriage certificate or domestic partnership agreement may be required if your significant other is qualified for your employer’s, veteran’s, or Social Security benefits.
In your end-of-life folder, keep any business agreements you have in place, such as a buy-sell agreement or any partnership documentation. It’s critical that your company partners or attorney have access to these documents in order for your intentions to be carried out properly.
Employee benefit statements
Whether you work for a firm, include your employee benefit statements with your end-of-life documentation so that your family knows if they are eligible for any benefits from your company and can easily claim them.
Your family and lawyers will be able to acquire essential information if accounts need to be changed to someone else’s name if you provide copies of your current invoices.
Loan transfer provisions
Many loans, however, do not go away after we die. Some of our outstanding debt will be passed to our beneficiary or cosigner. While the idea of passing on a financial burden is unpleasant, it is a necessary part of planning end-of-life arrangements. You can include provisions in your will to ensure that any leftover assets or funds are used to pay off any outstanding obligations.
Last tax return
Many people are surprised to learn that they must pay taxes in the year they die away. Include a copy of your most recent tax return in your end-of-life folder to assist your family in filing your final tax return. This will provide important information to your family for future filing. Adding the details of someone who does your taxes every year can be beneficial as well.
Your end-of-life decisions
If you don’t organize your memorial ahead of time, you’ll leave the intricacies and logistics to your family and loved ones while they’re mourning. It might be emotionally draining as they try to guess how you’d like to be remembered and what you’d like to be remembered for. This is why we recommend that you start planning end-of-life arrangements as soon as possible so that you may create an experience that encapsulates your time on this planet.
- Do you wish to be buried in a regular cemetery or cremated?
- Do you wish to spend some time in a conservation memorial forest with nature?
- Do you desire to be at a place that is significant or beautiful to you?
Make a list of all of your desires so that your family can honor you the way you want.
Pre-planning helps you to leave a lasting legacy while also safeguarding those you care about. However, our latest research found that 70% of respondents had not yet established their end-of-life decisions. What’s encouraging is that over 73 percent of individuals who began making plans reported feeling more productive, cheerful, and comforting. Taking the time to organize your affairs will allow your loved ones to handle the transition with ease.