Dave Ramsey calls it a Love File, and, because I can’t think of a better name, I do too. What am I talking about?
Ask yourself this question, “If I was to die unexpectedly, would my spouse know where to find the important documents she would need?"
The loving thing is to get all of these documents organized so they can be easily located and understood. If something happens to me, Janice doesn’t need the extra stress of tracking down my will, life insurance policy, etc. If both of us were to die together, my children would need to know where all of these documents are located. My Love File, therefore, contains these documents.
Written Instructions are Critical
The heart of this file is not the physical documents as much as the written instructions I have prepared which not only describe each document, but also explain it. Why is this important? Because even though my wife and children know where my Love File is located, they would still have to dig through each individual document to make sense of it. I try to keep the hard copies current and update the instructions each January. Once updated, I email these instructions to my wife and all four of my grown children.
These Love File instructions include the following:
1. Location of wills
2. Names of executor and alternate executor
3. Explanation of executor’s duties
4. Strategies for dividing the estate
5. Location of Living Wills
6. Location of Power of Attorney documents
7. Our Social Security numbers
8. Life Insurance information
Names of Companies
Expiration date of term policy
Primary and contingent beneficiaries
Contact telephone numbers and addresses
9. Pension Information (Note that I draw two defined pensions and social security)
Explanation of survivor’s benefits for each pension
All contact numbers and addresses
10. All bank account information
11. All investment information
12 Location of deed for house
13. Location of titles for cars
14. Location of tax returns (both hard copies and digital file locations
That is it. This year I had to make several minor changes that took me all of about 30 minutes. Not bad for showing my love for my family.
If I left anything out, please drop me a comment. I would greatly appreciate the help!