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What do I need to file?

Posted by denise_nz (My Page) on
Tue, May 23, 06 at 4:12

I've decided I need to file those important pieces of paper away so family can find them all if the need arises. You know the ones - the will, insurance papers, mortgage papers, etc.

Now, it's the 'etc' bits that I'm not sure of . . . what else do I need to put in this file?

Any help appreciated :-)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What do I need to file?

If anyone is interested in receiving Social Security checks, you'll need birth certificates (proof of age and citizenship) , marriage certificates (for spouse benefits) ou, any divorce decrees (ditto), military discharge (extra credit for military service) , and tax returns for the last two years (proof of earnings). I can't advise about wills,etc.

RE: What do I need to file?

Living will, durable medical power of attorney and power of attorney to handle financial affairs are ones to definately consider. By insurance, I'm assuming you mean life insurance. Don't forget if you have some type of policy through your work (even some credit unions gave things like $1,000 policies to new members.) Any retirement programs which would have a designated benficiary. Information regarding stock and bonds, certificates if you have them or note if the brokerage firm is holding them.

Most items are not that important if you are leaving a spouse. If someone would totally have to clear out your estate, then it would be helpful to have any information on any type of bills (credit cards, etc) so that they could send a death certificate to close those accounts.

A list of important names would be really useful. Accountant, attorney, stock broker or those type of professionals which would have your information.


RE: What do I need to file?

Thanks for that. I'm planning to put some time in over the next week sorting out the papers. Could take me a little while LOL

RE: What do I need to file?

Nolo Press has a great book called "Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To". It comes with a CD and steps you through the process of gathering and documenting everything that is needed when you are no longer there to communicate with your family. I just bought it last week and will be working through each chapter over the next month or so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nolo Press book

RE: What do I need to file?

Assemble all the items people have mentioned above and put them in one place. Problem with the pre-printed lists and notebooks is that we get them all the time --not filled out. As an estate planning & trust lawyer I would say that sometimes the biggest problem is that people keep old deeds for property that was sold years ago. They have insurance policies that have lapsed. Bank books with closed accounts. Throw the stuff out or at least label it --otherwise we have to check to see if its still good. Check to see if you have correctly named who gets your IRA or stock. If you have old stock certificates or savings bonds put them together and label the envelope. If you have a safety deposit box key put a conspicuous ribbon on it and a note."I have xxx in the box." Estates routinely pay $150 to drill the box; the family is convinced there is or was gold in there. Frankly if you just keep one of each bank statement, you are way ahead of the game. Keep old bank statements. We go through the checks often back several years for lots of different reasons--taxes, looking for forged checks by caregivers; checks to stock companies or insurance companies.
please don't be quick to send death certificates to credit card companies. They don't need one; pay the bill and tell them to close the account, and let them know you will pay no more bills. Identity theft is getting to be such a problem that states like California make it difficult to get a death certificate except from the mortuary. Look at a death cert. it has SSI number, parents names,etc. Somebody bought a house using one of our decedent's identity last year, and tried to get credit cards. Probably a family member but what
a mess.

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