The following is a guest article by Taylor Larimore.
As a former life insurance agent and executor of two estates, I understand how important it is to help those we leave behind. Below is my own “Final Instructions” which you may want to use as a guide.
For Immediate Action:
I would like my remains to be donated to the University of Miami Medical School to advance medical science and to save everyone trouble and expense. Donor forms enclosed. No funeral.
Documents you will find in my blue binder marked “Final Instructions”:
- Living Will
- Health Care Declaration/health surrogate
- Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information
- Last Will and Testament
- Names of physician, attorney, accountant, banker and advisors
- Birth Certificate
- U.S. Army Discharge
- Real estate and Auto Titles
- Social Security card and #
- Drivers license and #
- Life Insurance companies & policy #
- Other insurance companies & policy #
- Health Insurance card and #
- Civil Service records and card #
- Credit card and #
- Mortgage company and #
- Bank account statements
- Safe Deposit Box
- Mutual fund statements and contact person.
- Annuity companies to be notified and #
- Passport and #
- Real estate owned
- Receivable and payables.
- Old tax-returns & information for preparing last tax return
- Name and address of relatives and friends to be notified
Thank you for your love and kindness.
No one list is exhaustive. Some additional considerations you might need to include:
- Combination to the safe
- Keys (house, garage, shed, etc.)
- Stock certificates and corporate documents for any business interests
- Savings bonds
- Cemetery plot deed and information
- Trust documents
- 529 plan
- Pension documentation
- Payoff letters for past debts (to avoid claims against the estate)
- Marriage license/certificate
- Divorce papers
- Pet care instructions
- List of informal debts owed, items borrowed or lent
- Inventory and location of valuables (jewelry, cash, heirlooms, etc.)
- Bogleheads® forum topic: Death Book – A comprehensive list of essential information to help survivors manage the estate settlement process.
- Bogleheads® forum topic: Process for surviving spouse. – Additional helpful information for survivors to manage the estate settlement process. A number of practical suggestions; such as dealing with banks, insurance companies, and utilities are discussed.