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Legal

Expert Guide: How to Keep Your Finances and Assets Organised Digitally

Legado advise on why it’s important to get ahead on this and exactly what you need to do.

Organising your important information and getting your personal and financial affairs in order is a great way to stay on top of everything.

To help you begin, your first action should be to compile all of your most important personal, financial and legal information so that you can arrange it in a manner that will benefit you now and your loved ones later. You will then need to sit down and produce various lists of critical information and instructions of how you would like certain items to be dealt with when you die or become incapacitated. By organising this key information, when the inevitable happens, your loved ones will be able to:

  • Close your financial accounts.
  • Pay any final estate or income taxes.
  • Navigate the probate process.
  • Apply for and claim benefits.

Here is a checklist of the key areas you need to focus on:

Personal Information

  • Contacts: Make a comprehensive list of all the names and contact details (email, phone number, addresses) of close friends, professional advisors (financial advisor, accountant, solicitor) and others you would like to include (for example healthcare professionals or family friends.
  • End of life: Specify your wishes for organ donation and write out your final wishes and funeral instructions. If you have made any pre-arrangements with a funeral home or anywhere else, then it is good to include these details here. This is also known as an advance statement and sets out your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values.
  • Safe places: Keep a record of everything you have that is stored physically and under lock and key, or digitally and protected by password. This should include security alarms, bank lock boxes, and safe combinations etc. Personal documents: It is important to include items such as birth certificates, national insurance cards, marriage licences and passports.
  • Medical information: Specify what medications or prescriptions you and your spouse have, in addition to any allergies and illnesses. You could also include private dental and healthcare account information, your medical report, vaccination certificates and any repeat prescriptions.
  • Service providers: Provide the contact details and information of the organisations or individuals who provide regular services such as utility companies, cleaning services, or lawn care. 

Financial Accounts, Records and Assets

  • Property and vehicles: The most critical parts of information include title deeds, property and contents insurance, council tax for property and registration document, MOT certificates, service records and insurance details for vehicles.
  • Debts and liabilities: Make a record of any loans, leases or debts you may have. This could include mortgages owed, car loans, student loans, medical bills, and credit card debts. It is also important to note down any credit and charge cards, including the card numbers and contact information.
  • Financial accounts: Note down all your banking information together with accounts, brokerage, stock and mutual fund accounts, credit card details and any saving account information.
  • Insurance: List all the insurance policies you have. Be sure to include the policy numbers, broker (agent), phone number and organisation. This can include, but is not limited to, property and contents insurance, car insurance, pension policies, protection policies, inheritance tax (IHT) policies and WOL.
  • Taxes: Make a list of the location of your tax records (tax returns, tax coding, annual accounts, P60, P45).
  • Company benefits: Note down all retirement plans, pensions or health benefits from your former or current employer including the contact details and information of the administrator.        

Legal Documents

  • Financial power of attorney: This document will name an individual who you trust to handle your finances if you are incapacitated.
  • Wills, trust and estate plan: Make sure to include an original copy (signed and witnessed) of your Will together with any other estate planning documents you have made. This can include memorialisation plans, funeral service and preferences, service arrangement, burial and cremation preferences, people to notify, your life and legacy and posthumous messages.
  • Living Will, or advance health care directive: An Advance decision (or living Will) establishes a ceiling of medical care and lets your healthcare team know your wishes if you are no longer able to communicate them. A medical power of attorney grants someone the ability to make health decisions on your behalf.
  • Keep all these files and information organised together in one convenient location. Using our online digital vault and filing cabinet you can have peace of mind knowing your trusted professional advisors and loved ones know where your documents are.

Written by Legado, a one-stop-shop offering tools to keep your affairs organised digitally, including SecureTheFile, a digital vault solution to give you peace of mind and more time to spend on the things you enjoy. 

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