While everyone is enjoying a long holiday weekend of cookouts and fireworks, I thought I’d throw some cold water on the festivities and discuss the importance of a Bucket Binder. Simply put, this a binder of all the essential information that your family will need when you kick the bucket. Just because death is a serious topic doesn’t mean we can’t keep our sense of humor about it (like this guy who wrote his own obituary)!
If you’ve experienced the death of a loved one you know how difficult it is to make final arrangements in a state of grief, not to mention all the legal and financial matters that come after. One of the best gifts you can leave your family is an easy reference to all the information they will need at the sad time of your passing.
Putting together your Bucket Binder will take a little time but it doesn’t have to be complicated. All the supplies you will need are a 3-ring binder, some page protectors, and dividers. Place copies of recent statements and bills in the appropriate sections listed below, and update it at least once a year. Keep in mind your original copies of important documents should be kept in a fire safe or safety deposit box; simply make a note in your binder of where they are stored.
Here is a list of items to include:
1. Contact information
Executor of estate
Logins for social media accounts
Logins for other online accounts
2. Final wishes
Health care proxy/living will
Service preferences (location, music, readings)
Organization for memorial donations
Messages/letters to your loved ones
3. Important documents
Social security card
Deed to home
Titles for any vehicles
Utilities (gas, electric, water)
5. Financial information
Safety deposit box location
Death benefits available to your family
Insurance policies (home, auto, life, long term care)
Tax documents including recent returns
Outstanding loans or debts
Make sure your family knows about your Bucket Binder and where they can find it. It might make them a little uncomfortable, but they will be very appreciative if they need it!
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