Blog Post

Important Documents to Have Available for Your Family

I originally wrote this blog post over a year ago, but I hesitated to post it until now because I was worried about offending someone who might be currently grieving a loved one who had recently died.  Two weeks ago, my father passed away.  I can’t express to you how much I wished all of this information I am going to share with you had been readily available to me during that time.  It would have made things a lot easier on everyone involved.  For the last two weeks, I have spent all of my time going through my father’s personal belongings trying to find important documents.  It was such a stressful experience that I have yet to start the grieving process,  I decided that I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I just experienced if at all possible.  So I am going to share with you a list of important documents everyone needs to have available for your family.  If you don’t have some of these important documents, please follow the links provided below to obtain a copy.

Last Will and Testament – here

Living will – here

Life Insurance / automotive insurance – here

Home Ownership – here

Family tree info – here

Birth Certificate – here

Social Security Cards – here

Short & Long-Term disability paperwork – here

Long – term Care / Assisted Living Care – here

Names & address of immediate family members – talk to various family members if you don’t already knows this information

Marriage / Divorce decrees – here

401k plans – here and
here

Bank accounts / safe deposit boxes – here

Roth IRA / mutual funds / stocks / bonds – check old and current mail for statements

Education records – here

Military records – here

Church affiliation – ask family members and neighbors

Funeral plans / pre-paid burial plots – written out by family member in advance of illness or death

Baptism information – here

Work History – here

Child Support – here

Adoption paperwork – here

Medications – here

Doctors – review old / new mail, bills, Rx bottles, talk to family members

Medicare / Medicaid – here

Taxes (prior years and current) – here

Property Taxes – here

Mortgages – here

Automotive Payments – here

Loans – here

Credit Cards – here

Outstanding Bills – check mail

Registration / Car Title – here

Keys (house, car, safe deposit boxes, etc.) – check inside home

Self employed / CEO – find business paperwork to sell
or dispose of company

Will / Trustee – here

Organ / Tissue Donor? See Driver’s License

List of Contacts – see Address book, cell phone and ask family members

Valuables / Family Heirlooms – written out by family member in advance of illness or death

public Records

Most people do not want to think or talk about the day when each of us will be unable to make day-to-day decisions concerning our own life. It’s going to happen someday whether you want it to or not. It’s a part of life. Now how you go about preparing for this moment in life will either make it easier on your family or it will cause a lot of problems between family members. Let’s choose in advance to make that time in our life as easy for our loved ones as possible by having all of the items listed above already in a safe and secure place. Just be sure to let someone know where you have placed the paperwork. It would be best to choose no more than two family members who would be responsible for contacting different companies on your behalf and paying any outstanding bills. Choose wisely! This is not the time to pick someone who hasn’t shown responsibility in their own life. No, this is the perfect time to be a little selfish! If you have to go outside of your family, do so. Why? Because this could be the person making major life decisions on your behalf while using your hard earned money.

If you don’t know where all of these items are already, now would be a good time to ask someone you trust to help you find / get copies of these important documents. Check your home to find as many documents as you can before ordering and paying for copies. It may seem like a lot to do. It is, but it’s so worth it to get it done ASAP. Each persons life is different. Depending on the number of assets you currently own, you may not need the complete list. Pick and choose which items fit your lifestyle and plan accordingly. I know from personal experience, your family will truly appreciate it in the end.

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