How to organize important documents in a binder AND what important paperwork, documents and info you NEED in your In Case of Emergency binder.
Paper clutter is no joke – SO many important papers to keep up with. If you’re wondering “What papers do I need to KEEP” and what documents and paperwork you NEED in your binder, you’re in the right place.
Let’s walk through everything you need in your In Case of Death binder, organizing tips and where to print PDF organizer worksheets.
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Do YOU have an Important Documents Binder?
Apparently, it’s something EVERYONE should have, but I never really knew EVERYTHING that needed to be IN it or HOW to organize it.
If you’re in a hurry…
Otherwise, let’s talk, in detail, about everything we NEED to include, how to organize it… and how to keep it safe.
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.
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.
When you start organizing ALL the important, hard-to-replace, documents that define your LIFE…
Be SURE you have a SAFE place to PUT everything.
I STRONGLY recommend a filing system or document box that is Fireproof AND Waterproof.
The LAST thing you need is to have ALLLLLL your vital, precious info in ONE place – and it all get destroyed in that ONE place.
Protect Your Documents!
Alright, let’s talk documents you NEED.
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 Important Documents or Event of An Emergency Binder.
Don’t want to print a PDF online?
Here is the perfect system to use instead:
Before we get into the REALLY important stuff – here’s a checklist “cheat sheet” of important paperwork and info you need organized that you can save to Pinterest.
I think that checklist above is extra helpful because this list is what people NEED when someone dies to handle their affairs.
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.
End Of Life Documents
If something happens to YOU, will anyone know WHERE to find the most important “End of Life” documents they will need?
At the BARE MINIMUM, your Emergency Binder should include the paperwork listed below:
Don’t leave it to luck that those closest to you will be able to find that info.
Now, to REALLY have it all together, include the 13 additional documents in the list below.
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.
Speaking of funeral planning…
Funerals are EXPENSIVE.
This checklist below gives good tips to help reduce those expenses:
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 these Important Documents Binder pages 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.
A Pinterest reader said this on this pin:
“I made a book similar to this one. No one has opened it but my husband knows where it is when needed. I call it “ my death book”.
I listed all my funeral arrangements. I Have all the necessary VIP papers in it. And I wrote letters to my husband, my 5 children and 11 grandchildren In each plastic sleeve that I used for my children and grandchildren. I put a picture of us together and any personal notes I kept.
Makes me feel good to have this taken care of!!”
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.
Putting Your Binder Together
That long list of ALL the paperwork, info and documents you need is just the start.
Once you have gathered all that STUFF – it’s time to organize it all into one neat organized binder or filing system.
All I had to do was fill in the blanks.
Super simple – just the way I needed it to be haha!
The whole process IS a lot, but totally worth doing!
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.
Organizing Life Printables
If you want to seriously organize your life, below are the best printables for organizing life.
Printable resources from the picture above:
(1) – Printable Life Planner
Ready to feel less stressed and overwhelmed? The Inspired Life Planner includes 56 pages to help you get your life organized for once and for all. Print Here.
How To Organize Your Important Documents and Vital Info Into a Grab and Go Emergency Binder Plus Checklists and Printable Worksheets. Print Here.
Overwhelmed by paper clutter? Here’s your paperwork organization master plan to get rid of those paper piles for good! See All Solutions Here.
This binder conveniently holds all your essential personal information, providing your family with quick access in the event of your passing or an accident. Accumulating and organizing this information in one binder allows for ease of use, should it ever be necessary. Print Here.
The best FREE password organizer printables to organize all your usernames & passwords in an organized DIY password book… read more.
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