Several years ago I worked for a Fortune 500 company that had a binder for everything. I must have caught “binderitis” during my eighteen years there. I have binders all over the house. About seventy are filled with family photos and mementos and they are stored everywhere, some visible, many hidden. I feel sorry for my family when I die because they are going to have to figure out what to do with all these scrapbooks.
There are other binders for various purposes. I find it easy to organize records in binders with dividers and color coding. OKAY! Maybe I am sicker than I thought, so if you are laughing it is fine. I’m hooked on binders and not likely to give up my habit.
There is one binder however that I know my family will appreciate one day. I have two daughters and when I die they will know where to start to plan my memorial and to settle my estate. They will unlock the secret place and pull out THE BINDER.
This particular one is over eight years old and has been revised several times as situations change. It had a smaller predecessor. Let me tell you what this binder contains in its seven sections.
- End of Life – Copies of the Power of Attorney, Living Will, Healthcare Surrogate and Will. The originals are in a lockbox for which they have the keys.
- Finance – Banking and Insurance account information including account/policy numbers and contact names and phone numbers. Inventory of lockboxes. Charts (containing photos) listing family heirlooms (and other valuables), their locations and their origin (from grandparents, etc.)
- Funeral and Burial – Information on cemetery plot, gravestone contract regarding adding dates, suggestions and wishes for memorial service and data necessary for an obituary.
- House and Property – Copy of Deed(s), photos showing locations of water shutoff valves and electrical circuitry.
- Medical Information that may be needed by Healthcare Surrogate
- Historical Information as needed
- Miscellaneous and Resources
You may not be happy working with a binder. That’s okay. A box will do or a drawer. It is simply important for everything to be in one place. It does not have to be meticulously organized (although that’s nice). The important thing is that it is all together and that the person(s) who will settle your estate knows where it is and has any keys necessary. It is also critical that the contents of the box, drawer, or binder be discussed ahead of the time it is needed. I call that THE TALK. https://crookedcreek.live/2017/01/25/death-decisions/