Funeral Arrangements, Planning Ahead

Do You Have a “When I Die” Folder?

No one wants to think about dying, but the more you plan for such an event, the more you can help to ease the pain and suffering your loved ones will experience when you pass. A “when I die folder” can help you keep everything your family and loved ones need to know about organized, and it can include more than just what a traditional will would include. 

Creating this folder and letting your loved ones and your executor know about it will help give them peace of mind that everything is taken care of. So, what should you include in a “when I die folder”? Let’s take a look.  

What To Include in Your “When I Die” Folder

There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of after a funeral that many people don’t even think of. When you work with an attorney to create a will, there are still so many things that often get overlooked. A “when I die folder” can include the things that will be a part of the will, but it can also include less traditional things to ensure that your loved ones know exactly what to do after you pass. 

It’s also important to consider whether you will have a physical “when I die” folder or a digital one. A physical folder is good for all the physical important documents you want to include or other physical things like letters to loved ones. However, a digital folder with digital copies of records might be safer in case something happens to the physical documents. Just make sure your family has login information to access the digital folder. 

If you have the time, the best option is to have both a physical folder and a digital one. That way, way there is a backup in case something happens. 

Important Personal Records

To start, gather up all of your personal records or copies of your personal records. This prevents your family from having to search for these documents themselves or requesting copies of them, which can take time. 

Such documents include your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and death certificates from predeceased family members. It should also include a copy of your driver’s license and social security card or the actual items rather than copies. 

Real Estate Documents and Home Details

Next, you’ll want to include documents about your home or other property you own, such as real estate documents, deeds, and mortgage and property tax information. You should also include details about the properties and how to access them, such as addresses, keys, gate codes, garage door openers, etc. 

Financial Accounts

Next, make a list of all the financial institutions you have accounts with and include any relevant information and documents. This includes the names of the institutions, the name on the account, the type of account it is (savings, investment, retirement, etc.), the account number, and bank statements. If there are digital accounts, make sure you include login information or anything else that is relevant to access these accounts. 

Instructions on What to Do with Personal Property

If you have other personal property that you want to take care of, make sure you include information for that as well. This can include special items in your home, like an expensive piece of art, collectibles, antique items, etc. 

Your car is also personal property you will need to include information on. This can include instructions on what to do with the car loan after you die, who you want the car to go to, where the car is located, the title registration information, and the keys. 

List of Bills to Be Paid

Any business or organization that you pay a bill for should be included in the folder. The best way to do this is to go through and look at all your monthly expenses and then make a list of the payments you make for every business or account. Examples include household bills, phone bills, medical bills, credit card bills, gym memberships, and any other things you pay monthly, like streaming services and online subscriptions.  

Insurance Policies

Include a list of all your insurance policies and information on how to access those accounts or copies of statements. This includes homeowners’ insurance, car insurance, life insurance, renters’ insurance, health insurance, etc. 

Funeral Instructions

Your loved ones may not know what you would prefer regarding your burial or funeral, so it’s helpful to include this in the folder. This can include whether or not you want a funeral ceremony, what you’d like to occur at the ceremony if you want to be cremated, burial plot information, and funeral insurance information.  

You can also include how you want your death announced. Do you want there to be a traditional obituary? What about making an announcement on your social media accounts? Not all people stay in touch the same way as they used to, so sometimes a social media announcement is the best way to reach everyone that knew you. 

Simultaneously, you’ll need to provide instructions for your executor on how to handle your social media accounts. Not only should you provide all of your password and user login information, but you should also provide instructions for what to do with these accounts. You may want to simply deactivate them or if you want your legacy to live on the interwebs, your accounts can be made into memorial accounts for others to pay tribute to after you pass. 

Pet Information

If you have pets, don’t forget to include important information about them as well, such as feeding instructions, if they take any medications, and vet documents. You can also include who you’d like the pet to go to after you pass. 

Instructions on What to Do with Your Money

Aside from the traditional handling of inheritance in a will, you might have other ideas for how you would like your money to be spent. And this is something you can include in your “when I die folder.” 

For example, you might want to support a certain charity or organization that helps with community aid. Perhaps mental health advocacy is important to you and you want some way to continue your support of mental first aid within your community after you pass. Whatever it might be, you can include how you want your money to be spent beyond loved ones who will inherit your money. 

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