You’ve established what will happen to your business if something happens to you.
You’ve executed your will.
You have a durable power of attorney.
Health Care Power of Attorney. Check.
Life insurance documents.
And so on. The July 2, 2011, edition of the Wall Street Journal has a list of “25 documents you need before you die.” That list is worth repeating, as I have done below. Please print this and use it as a checklist to guide creation of a book to help those who are left behind after you win the lottery and leave for your new life .
Here is the list. Cut and paste, print it, and then start checking it off:
___ Marriage license
___ Divorce papers
___ Personal and family medical history
___ Durable health-care power of attorney
___ Authorization to release health-care information
___ Living will (if applicable)
___ Do-not-resuscitate order (if applicable)
___ Housing, land, and cemetery deeds
___ Escrow mortgage accounts
___ Proof of loans made and debts owed
___ Vehicle titles
___ Stock certificates, savings bonds, and brokerage accounts
___ Partnership and corporate operating agreements
___ Tax returns
___ Life insurance policies
___ Individual retirement accounts
___ 401 K accounts
___ Pension documents
___ Annuity contracts
___ List of bank accounts
___ List of all user names and passwords
___ List of safe deposit boxes
___ Letter of instruction
___ Trust documents
Nice job for your next free weekend morning, right? That’s it for the Wall Street Journal list, but I have a few things of my own to add:
Just in case you should ever need to prove a loss for purposes of insurance:
___ Inventory the contents of your household.
___ Include photos and /or video of the contents. Compile key receipts or appraisals, as applicable.
___ Then, put it all into a safe place.
___ Let your loved ones know where it is
___ Make a duplicate copy, and put into your safe deposit box.
___ Oh, and while you’re at it, have a spare set of keys made, label them, and keep them with your documents.
___ Mark your calendar with a set date to review this list every year and make sure that the documents (and your set of keys) are all still up to date.
Because you never know, and better safe than sorry.
Got it all done? Got everything you need? Well, there’s one more thing not to overlook. None of these papers will do you any good, if no one can find them, or if no one knows to look for them.
First, collect all these documents into a single, safe place. Second, deposit a second set of copies in a safe place, like your safe deposit box. Third, tell the people who would need to use these documents, should something happens to you.