9 things to put in a life folder & get organised this New Year

folder tabsA life folder helps you stay organised, keeping your important documents in one place, and prepared for if the worst should happen.

It’s January, and the annual ritual of picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after another December of over-eating and over-celebrating is upon us. While you’re all renewing those gym memberships and looking up new ways to stay healthy; be sure to really get your life in order and prepare a life folder.

Beyond being an invaluable source for your family should something happen to you or you are in an emergency situation, it will actively help you keep organised by putting all of your important documents in one place.

We’ve devised a list below on what you should include:

1. Contact information

This might seem like a basic first step, but a lot of people have been known to find it too simple to include. For the sake of clarity, you should outline a few basic details about yourself including your full name and registered address, your National Insurance number, the name of your solicitor, as well as include the names of your nearest relatives, next of kin, your GP, and the executors of your will if you have one.

2. Birth certificate, marriage license etc.

To make it as easy as possible to identify you and your immediate family and to ensure the validity of a marriage in case it was needed in any case where it may be beneficial (during probate, applying for a joint account or loan, registering for tax breaks…)

3. Will and funeral plan

Speaking of your will, if you don’t have one then it is highly recommended that you get one. If the worst was to happen to you, it provides instant clarity as to your wishes upon your death including provision of assets, child maintenance, and your funeral wishes. It’s common to think that you have years before you need to think about it, but if something were to happen unexpectedly, decisions could be made for you that you wouldn’t have wanted.

If you have a funeral plan, a copy of the details should definitely go in here as well. To find out more about wills and how we can help you, click here.

4. Powers of Attorney

Another document you don’t think about getting yet you should. Lasting Powers of Attorney allow for an appointed deputy (usually a family member) to make decisions on your behalf either in scenarios of health and welfare, or in matters regarding finance and property. You can also set out provisions of what you would wish to happen in certain situations.

Find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney here.

5. Financial information

We’re not saying that you need to give details of every penny that comes in or out of your accounts (although, not bad financial planning advice!), but simple information that could identify your bank accounts, direct debits, utility bills, pension information and so forth, as well as any confirmation letters for loans as that would also be useful!

6. Medical information

Again, a life folder is a great easy to access source in case of an emergency, any lifelong medical conditions, details of medications, allergies, blood type – it’s all good, relevant information that could help you in an emergency situation.

7. Property information and deeds

Certification of ownership for the larger things that you own such as your home, car, stocks, and so forth helps for matters such as probate or if a deputy needs to take care of your financial affairs in the future. That, and having it all in one easy location makes life easier in case you’re looking to re-mortgage the house or part exchange the car!

8. Insurance documents

This one is self explanatory. What use is a life insurance plan if no-one can find the documents to even get in touch with the insurance provider let alone claim off it?

9. Online and computer passwords

That’s right, this is now an accepted thing to put in a life folder. The world has become so computer dependant that it is actually pretty vital that your passwords are in safe-keeping so someone can delete your online accounts, subscriptions, and so forth. Just make sure they aren’t all ‘password’!

Also, let’s face it. How many of you have wondered what happens to your Facebook account when you die? All of you? Good, it’s not just us!

For more information on how to make an effective life folder, contact Dawn White today by calling 0115 988 6704 or emailing dawn.white@dbslaw.co.uk

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