Checklist: How To Identify Skeletons In Your Closet

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A quick snapshot of everything you might want to take to the grave – or at least have deleted, erased, shredded, or destroyed by someone you trust after you’re gone.

Do you worry about the things your family and loved ones will find after you’re gone? Well, fear not. We’ve identified a lot of things you might want to take stock of while you still can.

While some of it might be embarrassing, secret, dangerous, or even illegal, once you’re gone someone’s going to have to deal with it. For an in-depth article covering all the bases, check out How To Eliminate All The Skeletons In Your Closet After You Die. For a quick checklist of everything we cover, just look below.

Since this is highly personal information, you don’t have to fill the checklist out, but rather use it to identify things you’d rather remain private forever, especially if posthumous shame is something you’re genuinely worried about.

Get a “Cleaner”

The one thing you will need is a person you trust implicitly to carry out your wishes. We call this person a Cleaner, and they should do exactly what you ask without judgment. They’ll go through your computer, dresser drawers, medicine cabinet and anywhere else questionable items might be lurking. Then they’ll actually delete and or destroy them without question or complaint.

Disclaimer: This checklist should not be viewed as legal advice in any way. Just a helpful guide.

Computer, Phone and Tablet

  • Delete Browser History/Cookies on all computers
  •     Chrome
  •     Firefox
  •     Internet Explorer
  •     Safari
  •     Other ____________________________________________
  • Computer Hard Drive: Locate and delete all offending files (e.g. photos, videos, documents, etc…) Tip: After doing this, don’t forget to empty the trash.)
  •     Laptop
  •     Desktop
  •     Other ____________________________________________
  • External Backups: Delete offending files, reformat drive or discs
  •     External Hard Drives
  •     Thumb/Flash Drives
  •     DVDs
  •     CDs
  •     Other ____________________________________________
  • Email: Identify all email accounts, delete either specific emails/chats or the entire account
  • AOL
  • Gmail
  • iCloud
  • Outlook
  • Yahoo
  • Other ____________________________________________

[For more info on this topic, check out What Happens To My Email Accounts When I Die?]

  • Social Media: Identify social media accounts; delete private emails/chats or entire account
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Other ____________________________________________
    Notes ____________________________________________

[For more info on this topic, check out How To Close Digital Accounts And Services When Someone Dies.]

  • Cell Phone: Delete texts, photos, apps, etc…
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Tablet: Delete photos, apps, etc...
    Notes____________________________________________
  • Site Memberships and Digital Subscriptions
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Dating Profiles: Disable and delete profiles
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Adult Site Accounts or Memberships
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Digital Help For Personal Issues: (example: Support Groups for abuse, addiction, or a mental disorder or other private matters)
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Cloud-Based Storage: Eliminate data from the cloud and close account. (Also note if it’s a free or paid membership)
  • Dropbox
  • iCloud
  • Google Drive
  • Other(s) ____________________________________________
  • Notes ____________________________________________

Physical Media, “Toys” and Other Possibly Offensive Material

No giggling!

  • DVDs
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • VHS
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Magazines
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Photos
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • “Toys” (Hint: Not of the Lego or action figure variety)
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Racy Garments
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Adult Novelty Items
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Books/Reading Material That Could Be Misunderstood (Example: books on anarchism, communism, terrorism…)
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Weapons
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Personal Correspondence, Love Letters and Notes
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Private Journals and Diaries
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Hidden Assets (Note: Not in a bank, but in your actual house)
  •     Cash
  •     Jewels/valuables
  •     Other ____________________________________________
        Notes ____________________________________________
  • Wig/Hairpiece
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Prosthetics (example: falsies, shoe lifts, etc…)
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Piercings/Body Modifications
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Medication: Secret personal issues (example: mental or sexual disorder)
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Medication: Painkillers you’d like disposed
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Narcotics (including related paraphernalia)
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Unregistered Weapons
  •     Firearms/rifles
  •     Explosives
  •     Knives
  •     Other non-combustible weapons
        Notes ____________________________________________
  • Actual Skeletons (We’re kidding. Please don’t have any real bodies buried around the house.)

Personal History

  • Criminal Record: eliminate any discharge papers or other remnants from that era you may still have in your possession.
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Dishonorable Discharge: Smooth over the situation if the family expects to receive a military funeral or other benefits and are declined.
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Divorce Decree(s) from previous marriage(s) you never, ever talk about
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Illegitimate Children
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Secret Society: membership info and items that go with it.
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Racist/“Hate” Groups: and all the items that go with that.
    Notes ____________________________________________
  • Swingers Club Membership (does this even exist?)
    Notes ____________________________________________

For an in-depth article covering all the bases, check out How To Eliminate All The Skeletons In Your Closet After You Die.

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