Do YOU have an In Case of Death binder?
Are all YOUR important documents organized in the event you pass away or if an emergency happens?
Ever since I showed you all the homemade sympathy baskets I’ve made, I’ve had the “What if I die?” question on my mind.
Is all MY paperwork and documents and STUFF in order so I don’t leave a disaster for my loved ones to deal with after I pass away?
In pure Facebook magic a very helpful post suddenly appeared – it’s like Facebook knows what I’m THINKING haha!
The shared post listed out the 13 important documents you need to fill out before you die to put in an Emergency Binder or in a special In Case of Death folder.
Her basic checklist was too helpful to NOT research further and then share what I learned about end of life planning – in hopes it helps you as much as it helped me.
Here’s the Death Binder checklist I found to use as a worksheet template for YOUR In Case of Death organizer system, notebook or binder.
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Death Binder Checklist
If you’re creating a Death Binder or In Case of Emergency Binder, here’s an example checklist of the things you need to include.
The first list is just the basics – we’ll dig into the 13 REALLY important things below.
What to include in your In Case of Death or Emergency Binder:
- 13 Important Documents in List Below-VERY IMPORTANT.
- List All Utilities and HOW You Pay Them.
- Who to Notify (ie, employer, church, etc) and HOW To Contact Them.
- All Financial Information Including Contact Info.
- Car / Home Insurance Companies.
- All Your Credit Card Companies.
- Your Cell Phone Company Info.
- Arrangements for Pets, Plants, etc.
- Where To Find Marriage License, Drivers License, SS Card, etc.
- Online Accounts with Passwords (printable organizer below).
That’s just the BASICS of what really needs to be in your Death or Event of An Emergency Binder.
Now, let’s talk about the REALLY important stuff… the important documents.
Important Documents You Need
Now let’s get into a checklist paperwork you need in your binder or organizer you need in case you die.
After we talk about the 13 important documents, I’ll show you some, PDF Death Planner printables for your binder and other free information to take the stress OUT of planning all the things in case of an emergency.
13 Things Your Death Binder Should Include:
Below are the 13 important documents your death planning binder should include and what each document is FOR.
Completing these documents takes a ton of stress off the loved ones you leave behind so they are not stuck figuring out your estate and getting caught in a probate situation.
13 VERY important items you NEED in your In Case of Death binder, notebook or organizer.
1 – List Of Beneficiaries –
Make sure all bank accounts have direct beneficiaries and list them out in your In Case of Death organizer. The beneficiary need only go to the bank with your death certificate and an ID of their own.
2 – Transfer On Death deed (if you OWN a home) –
Completing a Transfer on Death Deed document (a TOD) and filing it with your county saves your heirs THOUSANDS. This document allows you to transfer ownership of your home to your designee.
After your death, the designee will simply be able to take their ID and your death certificate to the county building and the deed is signed over.
Doing this will avoid the home having to go through probate.
3 – Living Will –
A Living Will allows you to put in writing exactly what you want done in the event you cannot speak for yourself when it comes to healthcare decisions
4 – Durable Power of Attorney –
A Durable Power Of Attorney allows you to designate a person to make legal decisions if you are no longer competent to do so.
5 – Power of Attorney for Healthcare –
This document allows you to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you.
6 – Advanced Directive –
An Advanced Directive outlines YOUR wishes in medical-related situations. You can file your Advanced Directive with your primary doctor and it puts your medical wishes into your medical chart.
In the event that you can not verbalize your wishes and your medical POA (Power Of Attorney For Healthcare) isn’t present or is unreachable to make those decisions FOR you.
7 – Last Will and Testament –
Designates to whom your personal belongings and assets will go to when you die.
8 – Funeral Planning Declaration –
A Funeral Planning Directive allows you to detail your exact wishes as far as disposition of the body and the funeral services.
9 – Avoiding Probate –
From what I’ve read (1), if you have the above documents, you can AVOID probate.
If all the above is not done, you have to open an estate account at the bank.
All your money that you didn’t designate direct beneficiaries for goes into this account.
AND – You have to have an attorney to open the estate account.
The attorney also has to publicize your passing in the newspaper or post publication at the county courthouse, to allow anyone to make a claim on your property.
Without those important documents above, you are leaving a MESS for those you left behind to deal with after you’re gone – so be SURE to have all those important legal documents above.
10 – Make an Important Documents Binder –
Print this In Case Of Death Binder Template to make organizing and planning MUCH easier.
The workbook planner will help you organize all your important documents, vital information, emergency directives, banks and account numbers, all investment institutions with account numbers, lists of credit cards, utility accounts, etc.
There is space to also leave clear instructions as to how and when these things are paid.
You can also list out where your life insurance policies are located, health insurance information, care for your children and/or pets after your pass… it helps you organize everything so you can feel confident you did not forget something important.
11 – Don’t Forget Passwords –
Don’t just list out WHERE you accounts are – be sure to include log in information such as usernames and passwords.
Make 100% sure SOMEONE knows your Apple ID, social media log ins, email account info, etc etc.
AND, if you use 2-step verification for any accounts, be sure someone knows how to get IN your phone to get those verification codes.
12 – Vehicle Titles –
Make sure you have titles for all vehicles, campers, etc!
13 – MOST IMPORTANTLY –
Talk with those closest to you and make all your wishes KNOWN to them verbally AND written clearly in your binder.
Be sure to talk to those whom you’ve designated AND speak with those close to you whom you did NOT designate.
WHY explain to those you did NOT choose?
For one, you sure as heck do NOT want to leave drama behind. I’m sure we’ve all seen how nasty inheritance situations can get when one feels left out or over-looked.
It’s totally acceptable to explain why your decisions were made to help prevent any guilt YOU may feel AND to help avoid any lingering questions or hurt feelings from others.
I hope this checklist helps you with your planning – I know it sure helped ME.
I plan to encourage all our friends and family to take care of these planning details as well in attempts to make it easier for those left behind to deal with it all.
Just a note: I am NOT an attorney so this is FAR from legal advice from me. I simply found SUPER helpful information someone shared on Facebook and thought is was so useful for those that don’t have their affairs in order in case they die. so I decided to dig in and research and share what I learned with you.
More Death Planning Resources:
These are the important papers everyone needs to have and is helpful to use as a template of the important papers you need to organize… read more.
– Checklist for What to Do After Someone Dies – Settling a deceased family member’s affairs is not a one-person task. You’ll need the help of others, ranging from professionals like lawyers or CPAs, who can advise you on financial matters… read more.
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