Claire Thompson
November 25, 2022

Have you Made a 'When I Die' Folder?

easyStorage takes a look at keeping things in order for our inevitable deaths – however old we are – to make dealing with death less of a burden for those we leave behind.

There’s an age-old maxim: “There are only two things certain in life, death and taxes.”

Given how hard it is to make enough money to pay those taxes, perhaps we should reduce it to just one – death!

Accepting this leads to some fabulous concepts for living, like Swedish Death Cleaning, which is essentially about seeing our homes as others might see them were we to die tomorrow, and to living every day as if it were your last. Because one day, sadly, it will be.

Death comes with admin, taxes and all sorts of complications for those we leave behind. It may sound morbid, but having a single folder – real or on the computer (we recommend having print outs) – that tells people where to find things when you die is probably one of the kindest things you can do for your family. And for yourself if you want your wishes adhered to.

Moreover if you’ve paid out for valuable life assurance, you want to ensure it’s claimed on rather than joining the 25% that never get paid out.

Trying to keep all of your paperwork in one place is a task you’ll never achieve – the deeds to your home or rental agreement, bank statements etc all take up space. A folder or file simply telling people what and where these things are serves the purpose far better.

So here’s our checklist of ten things to include, where relevant:

1.   Personal details

Including any aliases, previous names (eg married names); include any important official numbers such as national insurance number, reference numbers for claiming benefits or pensions, and where to find things like donor cards and passports. You should also include details of your employers, whether paid or voluntary, and a number to contact them on.

2.   Where to find your will

Where it is and any telephone numbers needed to get hold of it (eg solicitor, will writer).

Last will and testament document

3.   Password locations

Don’t keep them in the binder, it could be invaluable to an identity thief. Simply write down what you can, for banking and online profiles, put it in a safe place and tell someone where it is, recording the name of that person. Don’t forget things like safes, safety deposit boxes, mobile phone access codes etc.

4.   Where to find certificates

This should include personal status certificates, such as birth, marriage, divorce; and financial asset certificates such as deeds, mortgage letters, equity release details, shares, etc.  Include details of any power of attorney here.

birth certificate

5.   Financial details

Where can your bank account details, including any strictly online financial apps like Beezum or Paypal which will need to be sorted. Similarly if you’re not already claiming pensions, where can the details of the scheme and its payouts be found. Make sure that people know where t find details of any loans or debit cards.

6.   Insurance policies

These may be for your home, your car, your pets or life insurances. Some may want advising for payouts, some may want advising in order to stop payouts or ask for refunds. And if there’s a funeral plan already paid for, this information, along with your wishes, will take a lot of stress from those trying to deal with your passing.

insurance policy document and glasses on a desk

7.   Possessions

If you have things held in storage or in deposit boxes, make a note of who knows where to find them, if not of the details and where to find the contracts/paperwork. Pets are often more ‘family members’ than possessions, but they need provisions made for them. If you’ve already made provision for pets, such as who will take them on, note this here, along with where to find them if it’s not immediately obvious (think of someone looking after your dog whilst you’re in hospital, or where you horse is stabled.)

8.   Utilities

Who are your utilities with? Most utility companies have policies for handling the death of a customer. Simply the name of the utility company will be useful, but if you can leave a number for their ‘death of a customer’ type line, those left behind may be grateful. If the utility is mobile phones, remember that sometimes there are balances to pay off on phones or insurances for the phone that may be useful.

middle aged woman looking at a utility bill

9.   Memberships

What memberships do you have, online and off, and what are the membership numbers? You may want to include details of whether they are paid for monthly, weekly, annually, and how (e.g. cash or direct debit). If it’s sports or social clubs, they would probably like to be told of your death, so helpfully providing telephone numbers/names of key people wouldn’t hurt.

10.  Important names, addresses & numbers

Such as immediate  family, solicitors, accountants, landlords, doctors – and any storage units, of course. If you still have the energy after all of this, you may want to make a list of all the people you want informed of your death with their phone numbers.Top of Form

All that still needs to be done is for you to ensure that someone knows that the file exists, and ideally where it is.

It’s no fun thinking about death. Putting this information together will take time, but simply the process of gathering these things together can be very cathartic, remind you of long since forgotten things and leave your loved ones with a lot less of a burden at an already difficult time.

easyStorage has created – and continues to create - a series of resources aimed at helping those facing loss:

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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