(720) 528-4227


What will happen if you are ever incapacitated when you die?   Will your loved ones know what to do?   Will they know where to find your estate plan?   Can they access it?   Do they know which professionals to contact to help them?   Can they access your computer and digital assets?   Will they know where to find your important documents and information?   If you do not know the answer to these questions, then there is good news: you can provide these answers right now.

The Key Takeaways

  • If something happens to you all of a sudden, your loved ones need to know your wishes of what to do, and they need to know where to find your wishes.
  • Tell your trusted loved ones where to find your important papers.
  • You should not presume that things will work smoothly; you need to be explicit and may want to conduct a “trial run” to make sure others understand.
  • Regularly review your documents to make sure they are current and reflect your life.

What Information Would They Need?

You may feel that your life is pretty simple, but there are actually a lot of things that a loved one would need access to if something every happened to you.   Here is a sampler list of some documents that your family would want to have:

  • Estate planning documents (trust, will, powers of attorney, living will, etc.);
  • Other legal documents;
  • A list of all the medications that you are currently taking;
  • A list of professionals you work with (attorney, financial advisor, CPA, primary physician, insurance agent);
  • Health and life insurance policies;
  • Account statements for bank accounts and investment accounts;
  • If you have space at a storage facility, provide how to access the space and what is located there;
  • List of other assets you may have, where to find and access them;
  • Information for a safe deposit box: location, contents, and where to find the key;
  • List of debts and creditor information;
  • List of people that have a debt to you and their contact information;
  • Any disability or death benefits provided to you from a company or organization; and
  • Tax returns from previous years.

You should also provide loved ones with the means to access any documents or records you are storing on your computer, in the cloud, or online.   This includes login information to websites and social media.   Otherwise, your loved ones may not even know those assets exist or how to access them.   Do you use a software program to track your budget?   Do you store family photos digitally?   You will probably want your loved ones to be able to access them.   You will probably need to provide passwords to those assets.

What You Need to Know:

You need to keep a methodical list of your digital and physical documents.   Getting started will easily be the hardest part of the process, but maintaining that list should prove to be much easier.

Actions to Consider

You may want to give a current copy of your health care documents to your primary physician and agents so they can provide those documents if you are ever incapacitated.

You should make sure to be organized and store your original documents in the same place, preferably a place like a safe or safe deposit box.   You can distribute copies as you see fit.

A binder is a great place to store all your information.   You will probably want to have a physical inventory of your digital assets and documents.   That helps make sure that nothing is overlooked.   You should include locations, file paths (for digital documents and assets), contact information, and account numbers.   You may also do the following:

  • Prepare an inventory of your online accounts and include instructions of how to access those accounts. You will need to include passwords.
  • Put your important files in one folder on your desktop. You may want to put “shortcut” icons in that folder.   This can be the equivalent of created a physical binder for your digital documents.
  • You can stress test your plan by having a loved one, trustee, personal representative, or agent go through the steps to access your information to make sure that it is possible, clear, and efficient.
  • You should review your notebook often, around once a year, to make sure that your inventory, list, and information is correct and up-to-date.