27 Things That Should Be in Your Pre-Planning File
Plan ahead —
Prepare a “death or illness” file for your loved ones to help with the details and simplify the process when the time comes, or for the day when you can't easily manage your affairs.
Include documents/all references, and passwords and locations/contacts and official paperwork, or where to find it—anything you may need yourself when you're not feeling as swift in mind or body as you are today, or may wish to set aside for your family or those handling your estate, or who step in during illness.
Insurance companies are a good source of reference and information—clarify with yours what you may need to do or, if it's too late and you're a family member or friend dealing with a loss, check with the insurance provider at once after the fact. Funeral homes and banks will often have checklists and resource information that will be a great help during this period if you're dealing with an unexpected or unplanned death. They will also know what's expected locally by the various levels of government and can guide you through the process.
Since sudden illness or accident may occur at any time of life—if you have a partner or children or family and dependents—you should prepare a death or illness file for you and your spouse/partner. Your loved ones will thank you for it. Pre-plan and put documentation in an accessible spot, or tell your family members where to find it in case of unexpected or sudden accident, illness, or loss.
Do this regardless of your age—whether you're 30 or 60. Print out and fill in details suggested on the forms linked here or draft your own based on the list below on your computer (also keep hard copies in an easy-to-find file) to save others from having to locate all the various documents and do it for you. This takes time and energy when they have little to spare. If a death has occurred and the deceased had not prepared such documents, various government departments are often a good reference for the information that will be required.
Record the basics
Here is a downloadable (PDF) information sheet from Desjardins (the insurance provider) that will be useful to anyone doing pre-planning or even after the fact, so you will know what you may need to collect for the executor or to meet legal requirements. Keeping all such documents and the backup details easily accessible in a general file and/or a safety deposit box—which everyone in your family knows about in case of emergency—is a good habit to get into. Keep them updated and refresh the files each year—pick a day, either tax time or on your birthday—and make sure the family knows where to find everything.
If you're helping someone out during illness or after the loss of a loved one, this will also serve as a handy guide to what you may need on hand. Your documentation.
In general, keep in your “In case of death or illness” file:
- all credit card documenation
- bank information
- employment records
- birth certificates
- medical cards
- driving license
- bank account documentation
- documents on any loans/debts/leases
- insurance—personal, home, business
- house/accommodation records/contacts
- mortgage documents/contacts i
- your will--update it regularly
- business documents/partnerships etc.
- business bank documents
- keys/addresses/contact lists etc
- power of attorney documents (for health and general)
- memberships and associations
- passwords and information for all your online accounts
- passwords and info for all your social media accounts
- payment schedules
- direct debit information
- bill and invoice files—due dates, etc.
- pension information and files/contacts
- tax information/filings
- addresses/phone/email lists of business and personal contacts
- names and contact info for all your service providers—insurance, banker, etc
- names and contact information for those normally concerned in your day-to-day life—whether it's your mortgage broker or the guy down the street who cuts your lawn when you're under the weather
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