Death Book- the Ultimate Symbol of your Love

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Are you the one in the home that handles all of the finances, pays the bills, makes the appointments, etc? If so, you are in desperate need of a Death Book . . .

A death book is simply a book that lists all of the important things that you were responsible for taking care of it. In the event that something happens to you (an accident, an unexpected illness, etc) your family will know what needs to be paid, when, who to contact, where the important papers are, etc.

My death book is a simple 3-ring binder, prominently labeled, “Death Book”. It is divided into 4 sections,

A. Immediate Needs

This section includes a contact list with addresses and phone numbers for doctors, dentists, tax accountant, attorneys, etc for each member of our household. In this section, I’ve included a list of each bank account, access information to those accounts.

I’ve included a form (pre-filled) out to notify the social security office of my untimely death – all my family needs to do is write in the date, include an envelope with a lifetime stamp.

B. Wills and Trusts

This contains a copy of our wills (living and otherwise)., Power of attorney, and specifies who gets what in the event of our deaths. It lists clearly who the trustees are and the location of any additional important documents such as life insurance policies.

C. Important Follow-Up

This is a brief guide to all time-sensitive information, such as taxes that are due. This includes a complete listing of our house and other properties that may be owned, vehicles ( and the month and date the taxes are due on them, as well as an estimated dollar amount).

You might want to consider adding a section here about home maintenance records such as any contractors that have done work on the property/home in the past, gardening/landscaping company and contact information, termite or pest control company contacts and information, etc. This is particularly important if you have any type of bond (such as termite protection on the home) as these are easily overlooked.

D. Household Financial Management

This section includes records about any and all bills and income. It includes a list of each and every creditor, the normal cost per month, the date it is due, which account it is primarily paid from. Be sure to note whether the payment is directly withdrawn from a bank account as well.

This is also the place to list each and every credit card account, the company that holds the account, as well as the complete contact information for each card. If you have password protected accounts, be sure to include the passwords you want your loved ones to gain access to, for instance, your facebook account. They may want to close the account or respond to your contacts.

You may wish to include the titles of vehicles and properties in this section as well.

While it’s possible to compile this information in a digital file, consider creating an actual book, such as a 3-ring binder. Oftentimes digital files are overlooked (or can become corrupted due to environmental factors) and well, some family members just aren’t computer savvy and it may add to their stress.

In short, having a death-book can immediately remove an immense amount of stress from the family, allowing them to redirect their focus to more pressing issues, such as taking care of the survivors.

Do you have a family death book? What types of things have you included in yours?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / rtbilder

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. FULL DISCLOSURE HERE
About Liss 4006 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

9 Comments

  1. This is a great idea. I am 66 years old and I never thought about making a book like this. What a big help this would be to the family.

    Thank you.

  2. I absolutely love this idea. Have been wanting to get more organized in the event of an untimely death so that my kids can find everything…this is a great idea. I will have to start working on this…thank-you for the suggestion

  3. Make sure all accounts involving money have a tod (transfer on death) or a pod (pay on death) if you have a bank account, stock market account, 401K account. These are your beneficiaries should something happened to you. Make sure to keep it current and change if something happens to your designated beneficiary.

    You can do this with your vehicles and with your house.

    it avoids probate court. if you change your will, change your pod and tod because these over-ride your will.

  4. Social Security is notified of your death by the funeral home, at least that’s the case in Virginia, and I expect it’s the case everywhere in the US.

  5. What a great idea! I’ve thought about something like this. I like your detailed listing of what to include. Thanks so much!

  6. While I think this is a good idea in principal can I give a note of caution…having all this information in one place easily accessible risks significant financial and personal loss if you are ever the victim of a break in. Better to put this information on an encrypted memory stick which you store somewhere safe and give key family members details of its location and password to access. You could even leave the memory stick with your solicitor (perhaps with your will) leaving only the solicitor details in your death book.

    • having all this information in one place easily accessible risks significant financial and personal loss if you are ever the victim of a break in.

      That’s a very valid point. We keep ours in our gunsafe- to which only certain family members have access. My concern with USB drives/ Memory sticks is that they’re easily corruptible and susceptible to moisture damage, so check them every few months if you’re relying on them to relay information in the event of your untimely passing.

  7. I also will include a list of friends and relatives to be notified. I have lived in five states and have a large family. Accesse information to my genealogical software might be useful.

  8. There are so many things you could include. I created a bank spreadsheet with each loan and account. They are single sheet. Yes more paper but can modify just one sheet or throwaway once paid off. Also created a detailed medical firm with my history in it. Another is my biography. Not a book but covers a lot of things. Might be interesting to grandkids in the future.

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