Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« The Best of Money Carnival | Main | Another TV Show that Teaches Personal Finances »

July 18, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I found a organizer online for this that was well worth the $20 because of how it already indexed and set up the pockets, had fill in the blank detail sheets, etc. I'm sure I could have found everything here and there online and pieced it together but would have taken much more time.

If definitely takes time, but just do a little now and then, hopefully there's no hurry to finish... I like how organized everything is now for my own purposes while alive as well.

And do it in a way that does not need updating unless there are real changes, then you do it in real time (stock holdings are evident from online account, so its updating the online account login info thats important, not the holdings, etc.)

I am 76 so it's not surprising that I have all of the above documents that are applicable.
It's a good idea to have a fireproof safe to keep these documents. If you live in a city and your nearest fire station is close you won't need an extremely expensive safe. Office Depot or Office Max carry some nice ones. They are very heavy so getting it home and installing it as securely as possible may be the hardest part.

Another concept I go by for everything in our lives is the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). I have all of our investments at one institution that I trust implicitly. We also only own three major assets, our home, our condo, and our investment portfolio and have no debt. Obviously we all need checking and a savings accounts, especially for direct deposit needs, but we only keep enough there for comfort and don't regard it as part of our investment portfolio.

Thanks for this article! Although I am young, this is something I'd like to put together and get in the habit of updating it on a regular basis, so I appreciate the input of the types of documents I need to be collecting. I manage most of the finances for our household, and I'd like my better half to be able to pick up where I left off even if I just had to leave town for a family emergency.

Which reminds me of an important point - make sure you educate other family members on how they can find this information in your home. It won't do any good if they can't find it!

Another thing I'd add in addition to your account numbers & passwords would be that you list your typical payment due date and whether you have it set up on auto-pay, if it is an account that bills you (credit card, utility, mortgage).

The actual documents I have for most of the stuff listed in the article and all my accounts take up a full file drawer and then some. I put together in a Word document all necessary information on any type of financial account I had. Name, address, phone number, website of institution plus my computer userid, passwords, security questions and answers, how this account get paid (if billed), how asset is titled (some things are in a trust) and who the beneficiaries are. I keep a copy saved on a flash drive, not my computer. It took me quite a while to put it together. I think it is over 20 pages now. I also tell the reader where my spare keys are, the extra storage space in the building, where extra cash is hidden. This document benefits me too since I now have all the most important data in one document. I have also started a balance sheet that I do at the end of each year, listing all my assets and liabilities.

I started with the most important things such as bank accounts, investments, credit cards, mortgages, loans. Then included insurance (medical, condo and auto), real estate, vehicle, cemetary plot, utility bills. Then started including other accounts like email accounts (important!), my accounts on Ebay and (sell and buy stuff there), my peer-to-peer lending accounts on Propser and Lending Club, my two Paypal accounts, Yahoo listserve group ID (I subscribe to several listserves).

Then I started including frequent flyer accounts, any subscriptions (paper or online) that I have. I try to include anything that has a bank account or credit card registered with it (like for example. A lot of what I have subcriptions for is computer related and has very little paperwork (Consumer Reports, New York Times, etc). If I am dead, my executor is going to need to access all that stuff to cancel some services or subscriptions. I also have details on how to access to my accounts dealing with my medical insurance, dental insurance and Health Savings Account.

I still need to work on a list of all the shopping sites I frequent, it never seems to end. But I have the most important stuff done. Just start thinking about all the "accounts" that you have and then prioritize them. You will feel better once you have started your documentation.

"And we have the stuff all over the place -- in file cabinets, in a lock box, on computers, etc"

In my master information document, I tell my executor the location of things. Most of my papers are filed in my file cabinet. If something is located somewhere else, then I indicate that in my list of important information. Like for example, where I keep my extra or unused credit cards, birth certificate, passport, other IDs or membership cards, extra keys, blank checks, backup computer files (oops now I need to add Dropbox to my account list), older tax files, presciption medications etc. Also don't forget to list your social security number.

I did this around a year ago and only touched the major topics. 401k,mutual funds, IRA, Roths. Yes it is a HUGE project but unless your wife double checks where you have all your investments and understands them, she will be lost without that disaster file. I know mine would. Plus this also showed me to dump my loosers and consolodate into lazy portfolios which I am in the process of developing.

This is good information, a good checklist that people should have even if not too old. I'm hopefully many years away from that, but think that we should always have our financial affairs in order. We owe it to our kids and family members.

Right now I have a small file that lists my income, outgo, insurance, automatic payments, passwords, beneficiaries, 503b, checking, online savings, donations and monthly bills. I list which are paid directly and which are automatic and which to cancel immediately. I keep an annual sheet by month showing when all my bills are due. I also list the phone numbers of the state offices for my 2 pensions.

I am not certain about a will. In our state, all my things would be divided equally between my 2 kids. No living will or other items. I trust my kids to do what they know I want. I have told them my burial plans and what to do if they can't be done. I also left a signed sheet with the same info.

I do see that I might need to do more. I have a small fireproof safe and my taxes, etc. are stored there.

AND - whoa - I do see that I need to update things ASAP. Thanks for the reminder and possible things to add to the list.

Georgia - While your kids might know "what you want" in terms of a living will, that will not help them in a medical situation. Unless you have a legal document, signed and notarized, specifically stating your wishes and appointing someone as your legal medical guardian, the hospital or medical institution will do whatever they want, and your kids will be helpless to stop them. For your sake, spend a few bucks and have one drawn up; you don't want to spend a decade with a feeding tube down your throat and a machine breathing for you, should it ever come to that.

Filing cabinet? What is this 2002? ;)

I have all the information digitized in an encrypted container (TrueCrypt). The paper docs required are in a safe-deposit box. I update the info twice a year.

I have added pets' names and what I want to happen. Padlock numbers for security gates. Information on how much to pay the priest or verger. Key people to contact with phone/address details. Return library tickets. Action to take re utilities.MOST IMPORTANT. Consider the position if you both die simultaneously (say car accident).

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.