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Preparing an “Open in case of death” folder

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2023 | Uncategorized

If you tend to avoid discussions about your own mortality, you are not alone. Many people in Indiana and beyond consider it their least favorite topic. The problem with never thinking about or discussing it, however, is that your loved ones could be left to deal with chaos and stress if you die or become incapacitated without having executed the estate planning process, and, in particular, an “Open in case of death” folder.

When you craft an estate plan, there are no set rules regarding which documents you must incorporate and which you must omit. You are in control of your own plan and may customize it to fit your needs and goals. Implementing an “Open in case of death folder” is the easiest way to gather all important documents into one location and provide helpful information to those you leave behind so that the probate process will be less stressful for them.

Basic overview of an “Open in case of death folder”

Consider, for a moment, all of the documents and information you have acquired during your adult life, such as that having to do with bank accounts, employment, mortgage loans, credit cards, medical records, business, investments, retirement plans and more. If you were to die unexpectedly, without having prepared an “Open in case of death” folder, your loved ones might be in quite a fix, trying to figure out where everything is or how to access your accounts.

When you create an “Open in case of death” folder, you can fill it with any information or paperwork that might be relevant to your family members after you die. For example, you might include a list of all the login information for your various online accounts. You might also include a copy of your medical records, tax information and a list of contacts that might be needed as your estate is administered.

Make sure at least 2 people know the location of the folder

While it’s possible to create an “Open in case of death” folder in a digital format, it’s always best to have a hard copy, as well. Either way, at least two people you trust should know the location of the folder and how to access it, such as if it is in a safe deposit box.

The purpose of sharing the information with two separate people is that there is less chance for both of them to become incapacitated or deceased, so, at least, one person will be there who knows where your the folder is located. Such a folder is a useful tool as part of the estate planning process and can save your loved ones from confusion and stress when your estate passes through probate.