When advising our clients on emergency financial folders, we actually recommend two folders – one for less sensitive items, like family contact numbers and health insurance information, and another for highly sensitive items like financial accounts and passwords.
You can keep the less sensitive binder on a bookshelf in your house, and the highly sensitive folder in a locked safe with the key held by your spouse or attorney. Safe deposit boxes are an attractive choice, but if you go this route make sure that you’ve granted access to your spouse or trusted associate beforehand, since otherwise your family will need to wait to go through the lengthy probate process before they can gain access.
Recommended contents of ‘less sensitive’ folder:
– emergency phone numbers
– extended family contact information
– healthcare information and insurance card
– pet information
– durable power of attorney
– advance healthcare directive (“living will”)
Recommended contents of ‘highly sensitive’ folder:
– life insurance policy information
– home ownership information (mortgage information, servicer contact information)
– tax information
– financial accounts and passwords (credit cards, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, cryptocurrency exchanges)
– copies of personal documents (birth certificate, social security card, marriage license, prenuptial agreement)
The emergence of digital password managers with ‘digital legacy’ options is also an innovation worth considering.