A couple of centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin told the world that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.
All these years later, he's still right. When we're talking about the path to FI, we know that we need to be prepared for both.
We talk a lot about taxes when we discuss FI, but what about death? No one really likes to think about dying. However, if we don't, we're doing our families a huge disservice. It's better to prepare now than make your family try to guess what you would have wanted after you are gone.
Enter the legacy binder.A legacy binder is exactly what it sounds like: a binder full of your personal information and wishes that you leave your family so they have instructions on what to do with your belongings and your money after you've passed. The ICE Binder is downloadable, easy to complete, encompasses everything your loved ones will need to know, and also complements your journey to FI.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Legacy Binder
- What Should Be In Your Legacy Binder
- Where Should You Keep Your Legacy Binder
- A New Take On The Legacy Binder: The ICE Binder
- Should You Use The ICE Binder
What Is A Legacy Binder?
As we said, a legacy binder is simply a fancy name for a storage compartment where you keep all necessary information about your life and finances that your family will need upon your death.
We know death isn't the most cheerful topic, but a legacy binder is important to have for a variety of reasons.
- It takes the stress off of your loved ones. Whether it's expected or sudden, death is extremely difficult for family members and friends of the deceased. Having one location where they can go to know your final wishes makes a challenging time much easier.
- It gives them all of the information they need. A few decades ago, when someone passed away, their family members would check their desk or file cabinet for details on their last wishes, financial statements, will, etc. Now, we need to look in a computer for that information. But if your family doesn't have the right passwords, not only to the computer itself but to all the websites with your account information, they won't be able to access critical information.
- It puts all of your wishes and records in one place. With this binder, all of the information your family needs will be in one place. No more hunting in desks, closets, under mattresses, or in other crazy places to know what you wanted to happen after your death.
Related: Why You Need A Legacy Binder
What Should Be In Your Legacy Binder?
When we say that your legacy binder needs to contain all of your “necessary information,” what exactly does that mean? Here's a list of the recommended documents you’ll want to include.
- Last will and testament — If the original is on file with an attorney, include a copy of the document in your binder, along with instructions on how to access the original.
- Insurance policies — Make sure you have the paperwork from all of your policies, including life, home, auto, etc.
- Bank and credit card information — Include a copy of a recent statement from each bank account you have, and do the same for the credit cards. Leave a note as to how the person can access the bank account and the credit card info online. Also state where the physical credit cards are located.
- Investment account information — You should provide a list of any active accounts, as well as account numbers and contact information for your financial advisor.
- Benefits information — This will include information related to your employer, any benefits they offer, and their contact information.
- Income tax returns — Since physical copies can be bulky, you can either store them on a flash drive and place the drive in a pocket of the binder, or scan them into your computer and then leave information in the binder about where the returns are and how to access them.
- Any information regarding your home — This includes deeds, mortgage documents, and account numbers for companies providing electricity, gas, cable, water, sewer, and trash.
- Usernames and passwords — Take a moment to list out all of your devices and internet sites where you store important information. Check your browser to make sure you've included everything. Then list out the passwords to each of those sites.
- List of personal effects and instructions — The instructions will include where or to whom you want your possessions to be distributed.
Where Should You Keep Your Legacy Binder?
It's obvious that this binder includes a lot of personal information and can cause you some real damage if it falls into the wrong hands, especially when you're still alive. Please store it in a safe place. That might be a safe in your home, a safety deposit box at your bank, or someplace else that you feel safe leaving it. Only tell the person that you're trusting to handle your affairs after your death where the binder is located.
In addition to telling that person where your legacy binder is, it's worth a few minutes of your time to go through the binder with that person. Explain things that might be unclear. Answer any questions that person might have. I remember doing this with my parents when they left for an extended vacation while I was in college. Thankfully they returned home safely, but it was really helpful to know where everything was just in case.
Protect your family today. Get your ICE Binder here. Use the coupon code CHOOSEFI for 20% off.
A New Take On The Legacy Binder: The ICE Binder
Chelsea, from Smart Money Mamas, has created an “In Case of Emergency (ICE) Binder”, which is a legacy binder all laid out for you. All you need to do is fill everything out. It includes worksheets, instructions, and PDF pages you can type right into – no handwriting needed!
To give you a better sense of everything the ICE Binder has to offer, let’s dig into the details.
The ICE Binder includes:
- Over 90 pages of simple, printable worksheets that help you organize everything your family may need to know.
- 15 sub-sections that are easy to navigate.
- A mix of pages that include official, need-to-know information and more sentimental questions about your family and friends.
Get your ICE Binder here. Use the coupon code CHOOSEFI for 20% off.
Here's a sneak peek of some of the pages in the ICE Binder to give you a better sense of what's in it, and how it can help you.
The ICE Binder includes family, personal, and nearly every financial topic you can think of.
As you can see, it may take a while to fill out all these pages, but starting this from scratch would be more daunting. The ICE Binder offers easy-to-read pages that can keep all of your information organized. It ensures that you won't forget any important information.
You can get a copy of the ICE Binder for $39. Use the coupon code CHOOSEFI for 20% off.
While that’s more expensive than creating your own binder, it will also save you a huge amount of time. Without the ICE Binder, you would have to think of everything on your own and try to remember what's important to include. That's time you could be working on a side hustle, having fun with your family, or doing one of your hobbies. Plus, you will have the peace of mind that you've thought of everything.
The ICE Binder obviously includes important financial information, but it leaves room for your personal thoughts as well.
Chelsea has included pages about emotional topics that you really need to consider. You can't turn back the clock and tell people things that you always wanted to. Take action today to make sure you have no regrets.
That's what the ICE Binder is all about–making sure your loved ones have access to your life. Not just your belongings, but to important memories they shared with you as well.
Who The Binder Is For
Should You Use The ICE Binder?
Why wouldn’t you? If you want a way for your family to be able to organize all your assets without a hassle in case the worst happens, the ICE Binder is perfect. It gives you and your loved ones peace of mind. And in the end, that's the most important legacy you can leave.
Get started on your ICE Binder here. Use the coupon code CHOOSEFI for 20% off.
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