Master Document

If you die or become incapacitated, it is helpful to have a master document that lists all the information your family or executor would need in order to access your accounts and important documents.

Where should the master document be kept?

Keep the document in a safe place, but not in a bank safe deposit box, as your family may not have immediate access to the box. Share the document, or its location, with family members, your power of attorney, and executor.


What should the master document include?

The list should be comprehensive and include all the information that your family or executor may need to manage or close out your estate. Where appropriate, you should include:

  • Bank or company name
  • Account numbers
  • Contact information
  • Username and password for online accounts
  • Value of the account or policy, including the date of the valuation, and
  • Location of paper or electronic documents and policies.

You may also want to consider including information about your social media accounts and how you would like your family to handle them. If you use an online service to store and manage your account usernames and passwords, be sure to include access information for that service as well.

Click to view a checklist of items that may be helpful for you when building your master document.

Who to Contact

  • Friends, relatives, co-workers, bosses, and any others, along with their phone numbers and/or e-mails.

Bank, Savings, Investment and Retirement Accounts

  • All bank accounts
  • Retirement benefit accounts (401(k), 403(b), IRAs)
  • Investment portfolios
  • Pension plan information

Liabilities

  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages
  • Unsecured loans
  • Car loans
  • Student loans

Insurance Policies

  • Life insurance – individual and/or group policy from work
  • Health insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Homeowner’s/renter’s insurance – If you have riders for valuable items, include that in your list
  • Special insurance policies (theft, fire, earthquake, etc.)

Titles Or Deeds To Any Property

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Other Property

Estate Planning Documents

  • Will and trust documents
  • Power of attorney
  • Advance health directive
  • Final arrangements document
  • Burial plot deed
  • Safe deposit box and keys
  • Recent tax returns
  • A list of important contacts (Executor, Lawyer, Accountant, Insurance agent, Finance professional)

Proof Of Identity And Relationships

  • Social Security card
  • Armed Forces discharge papers
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce certificates
  • Prenuptial agreements

Daily living items

  • Household utilities
  • Automatically renewing medications

Your online presence

  • Email accounts
  • Online businesses
  • Social media
  • Cloud storage for accounts and photos

Other

  • A record of major purchases
Tips & Resources - Master Document
  • Making things easier for your family may be time-consuming. It's best to break the task into manageable sections and take it one step at a time.

  • Make it a habit to review and update the document list at least yearly. Make sure that your usernames, passwords, and list of accounts are current.

  • There are online “vaults” where you can upload and store this information and update it as needed. Be sure to check out the security and privacy of these companies before using them.

 

This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended as investment, tax, financial, legal or other advice. Your personal decisions should be based on the recommendations of your own professional advisors. 

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