Primary Goal of this Step
After you die, there will be many financial and administrative tasks to take care of that can quickly become overwhelming. Careful planning and organization now can relieve some of that burden. Make sure your survivors can easily settle your estate, pay required taxes, and quickly and easily receive the benefits they are entitled to when the time comes.
Important Tasks: Organize & Share Important Documents
Identify important estate planning, financial, legal, and personal documents and accounts
Create a list of estate planning documents (will, trusts, power of attorney, advance directive), financial and legal accounts (insurance policies, bank accounts, credit cards, tax returns, deeds), personal information (birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage license, divorce decree), utilities, and any professional contacts who have helped, or will help you, with these things (lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, etc.).
Physically gather the paperwork and place in an easy-to-find folder
For the items identified above, collect all relevant paperwork. For example, tax returns, account statements, and recent bills.
Gather password information for all of your online accounts (email, online banking and finance, social media) as well as for physical items (banking PIN number, computer, cell phone, safe deposit boxes, and combinations to locks or safes).
Store these items somewhere safe, and tell someone you trust of the location
Be sure to tell someone close to you, such as your spouse, adult child, or attorney, where you’ve stored these items. If you have an attorney, he or she may securely store these items for you. Do not store these items in a safe deposit box, as the bank may require a court order to allow your family to open the box.
You can also securely store your important information, documents, and account info online. Get started with Personal.com.