How to Create an “In Case of Death” Folder

28th March 2024#other
How to Create an “In Case of Death” Folder

Rhi Leedam

Managing Director

In Case of Death Folder

Consider putting together a practical solution to organise your affairs in the event of your death, to ensure that your family or representative can easily access essential documents and information should the need arise.

This solution is often referred to as an “in case of death folder”.

It’s a simple concept: gather all your important personal and financial information into one place, whether it’s in digital or physical form. This makes it much easier for your family to find everything they need if you’re no longer around to help. This is especially important if one person in your household takes care of most of the family’s financial tasks, such as paying bills, managing accounts, and storing documents.

When it comes to choosing between digital or physical formats, it’s entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. You could create a secure and encrypted electronic file that your loved ones can access if the worst happens. Alternatively, you could opt for a physical folder to keep all your important information together in one place.

What to keep in an ‘in case of death’ folder?

A death folder checklist:

Birth, marriage and divorce

  • Personal birth certificate
  • Marriage licence
  • Divorce papers
  • Birth certificate/adoption papers for minor children

Life insurance and retirement

  • Life insurance policy documents (including beneficiary nomination forms)
  • Details of any employer death in service benefits
  • Personal pension documents
  • Employer pension details
  • Annuity documents
  • Details of any entitlement to state pensions

Bank accounts

  • List of bank accounts with account numbers, login details, passwords etc
  • Details of any credit cards
  • Details of safe deposit boxes

Assets

  • Property, land and cemetery deeds
  • Timeshare ownership
  • Proof of loans made
  • Vehicle ownership documents
  • Stock certificates, brokerage accounts, investment platform details, online investment account details
  • Details of holdings of premium bonds, government bonds, investment bonds
  • Partnership and corporate operating/ownership agreements (including offshore companies)

Liabilities

  • Mortgage details
  • Proof of debts owed

Details of gifts

  • Dates and amounts/values (potentially helpful when calculating any inheritance tax liability)

Income sources

  • Make a listing of all your sources of income, especially ones that your family might not know too much about
  • Employer details
  • A copy of your most recent tax return or accounts (if self-employed or own business)

Monthly expenses (so they can be maintained if necessary or cancelled if not)

  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Rent/mortgage
  • Loans
  • Subscriptions/memberships

Essentials

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Will/testament + details of the person/firm that helped create it if applicable
  • Instruction letter
  • Trust documents
  • Burial/cremation wishes
  • Power of attorney
  • Contact details
  • List of names and contact numbers for your financial adviser, doctor, lawyer/solicitor, accountant, insurance broker.

Think too about your social media accounts. Who will be able to access or control them? A useful resource for this is https://memories.step.org/ . Share access to your digital accounts using a password manager like Bitwarden, so that your trusted next of kin can access them if you’re not able to.

Set a diary note to review this information once a year to keep the details current. Remember to write a note on file to say when the details were last reviewed.