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Business Insider article advises that there are 25 key documents that you need to leave for your family before you die. The article points out the financial problems caused by failing to keep these documents. In fact, there is currently $32.9 billion in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets being held by State treasuries.

The article also makes a point that you should not keep everything. Family members can become overwhelmed by sifting through documents that date back decades and could eventually give up and miss important papers simply because the most critical documents are not housed together in a clearly labeled spot.

The 25 documents that should be easily accessible for your family in case of an emergency or death are:

The Essentials:

  • Will
  • Letter with funeral instructions
  • Trust documents

Bank Accounts:

  • List of bank accounts
  • List of usernames and passwords
  • Safe deposit box information

Life Insurance and Retirement:

  • Life insurance policies
  • IRA accounts
  • 401(k) accounts
  • Pension documents
  • Annuity contracts


  • Real estate deeds/documents
  • Cemetery plot information
  • Proof of loans made and amounts owed to you
  • Vehicle titles
  • Stock certificates, bank, and brokerage accounts
  • Business, partnership, and corporate records
  • Tax returns

Health Care:

  • Medical history
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Authorization to release health care information
  • Living will
  • Do-not-resuscitate order

Marriage and Divorce:

  • Marriage license
  • Divorce judgment

Please contact us with any questions or if you would like any of our free planning forms that you can use to list important financial, medical and funeral information, and contact persons, for your family.