Making a ‘Die Tidy File’, before your death, is a real kindness to those you leave behind. Leaving your affairs, and important paperwork, in order can be a Godsend at an incredibly distressing and emotional time; So that your loved ones are not left trying to guess what you would have wanted or hunting through a lifetime of belongings for your important documents.
Here are a few simple suggestions for what you might do.
Keep all of your important documents in one place, to save time for your loved ones and reduce the risk of something being missed.
Create a box or file clearly marked for the attention of your Executors, perhaps marked in bright, bold letters ‘Die Tidy File’, to save relatives from turning your home upside down looking for it. Here’s a suggested, though not comprehensive, list:
- ‘Certificates’ (birth, marriage, divorce and the like)
- National Insurance Number
- Tax reference number
- Title documents (if you own your own home or other property)
- Vehicle registration documents
- Valuations of any valuable household items
- Household Insurance documents
- Details of all your assets and debts (including things such as life insurance policies, bank details, investment details, pensions, death benefits, mortgage, credit card or loan documents)
- Lists of all the subscriptions and memberships to be cancelled
- Names and addresses of friends, family neighbours and colleagues who you would wish to be informed of your death.
It is also very important to keep a record of any valuable gifts you have made in the last seven years since your Executors may have to include these in their valuation of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.
In an increasingly digital age, many of your assets may only be accessible online and it is therefore a good idea to have at least one trusted person who knows your passwords. If you have multiple online assets with different account details, it may be worth investigating Digital Vaults where you can have all of your account information in one place and securely encrypted. The benefit being that your trusted person need only remember one set of log in details to be able to access all your account information.
Likewise, many mobile phone providers allow you to set up a ‘legacy account’ which is the easiest, most secure way to give someone you trust, access to the data stored in your mobile phone account after your death, which may include; photos, messages, notes, files, apps you’ve downloaded, device backups, and more.
And then, having created your ‘Die Tidy’ file, don’t forget to review & update its contents periodically.
It will be up to your family or Executors to clear your house once you have gone so if you have kept everything since your children were in baby clothes, they will have a big task on their hands. Clearing your home will help ease the burden and may even prove to be therapeutic to you. If there are any items that you would like to pass to a specific person, then why not do it now, while you are still alive, and before you become too old and frail.
Plan your Funeral
Not knowing what a loved one would have wanted at their funeral can be a source of distress for those left behind. You can help ease their concern by planning the arrangements yourself beforehand and then either writing them down or discussing them with your family, so they will have one less thing to worry about, and can take comfort knowing that the funeral arrangements are those that you chose yourself.
Make a Will
Last, and definitely not least, making a Will is the best way to ensure that your intentions are carried out as you wish them to be, and is the quickest way to get your affairs in order.
Ensure that you make a Will with a suitably qualified professional so that the likelihood of the Will being challenged after you die is reduced. Also make certain that your Executors know where your Will is stored.