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What is a death dossier?
A death dossier is simply a list of documents which you should retain in one location to identify important information about you and your financial situation. Keeping these specific documents will be extremely helpful to your family upon your passing.
How can a death dossier help me?
Let’s face it, death is not necessarily something we want to think about, let alone plan for. My Dad was one of those people. He thought that if anything happened to him, my sisters and I would figure out his affairs. Of course, we eventually had to, but not until we invested hours upon hours sorting through stacks of papers which he retained over the last 20 years. There was no organization whatsoever. We found his military discharge paperwork in a nightstand, a mortgage document in a stack of receipts, his social security card in his wallet, and insurance forms in the trunk of his car. I’m sure it all made sense to him, but it proved to be a nightmare trying to figure out what, if anything, was important to his estate and the probate process we faced. By the way, the mortgage paperwork was a red herring, as he actually paid off that debt long before his death – another reason to keep your affairs in order.
So through my experience with my Dad’s estate, I have learned – and now wish to share with you – that it’s always a good idea to keep your important documents all in one place. Your family will certainly be appreciative in the end.