How to Create a Legacy Binder

In case of illness, emergency or death, the last thing children should have to deal with is confusion about financial, legal, medical, and end-of-life preferences that they did not know about. At a time of crisis or grief, the ability to think clearly is severely compromised. It’s hard to make decisions about anything. It’s even harder to try to find papers and records that could easily, with a little bit of planning and forethought, have been gathered and catalogued in advance.

It is an act of love for parents to provide their adult children with the information they need to help them as they age. The best way to do this is keep the information in one place.

There are commercial binders for this purpose such as Vital Records PortaVault with pre-labeled tabs and document pockets for organizing your records and papers. You can also make your own binder and insert tabbed sheets for each category. The important thing is to have a system that you can easily update if any information changes. For everyone’s protection, make sure that any changes are updated and included in the appropriate section in the binder. You will find a list of documents in the appendix of the book.

Children should know where this binder is kept. If parents don’t want to disclose financial information, they should at least have the financial and legal contacts listed in case the children need them. Funeral preferences should be readily available because this is the first thing children will have to deal with. You can keep the binder in a fireproof safe as long as your children know the combination. If you choose to keep the originals in a safety deposit box, be sure adult children are authorized to enter it.


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