TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, July 4, 2011

WSJ: The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die

Wall Street Journal, The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die:

Design your death dossier soon -- or you could be setting up your heirs for frustration and financial pain.

  1. Marriage license
  2. Divorce papers
  3. Personal and family medical history
  4. Durable health care power of attorney
  5. Authorization to release health care information
  6. Living will
  7. Do-not-resuscitate order
  8. Housing, land, and cemetery deeds
  9. Escrow mortgage amounts
  10. Proof of loans made and debts owed
  11. Vehicle titles
  12. Stock certificates, savings bonds, and brokerage accounts
  13. Partnership and corporate operating agreements
  14. Tax returns
  15. Life insurance policies
  16. IRAs
  17. 401(k) accounts
  18. Pension documents
  19. Annuity contracts
  20. List of bank accounts
  21. List of user names and passwords
  22. List of safe deposit boxes
  23. Will
  24. Letter of instruction
  25. Trust documents

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Comments

26. Cancellation of Wall Street Journal subscription

Posted by: Shag from Brookline | Jul 4, 2011 3:58:49 AM

Thanks, Shag, for the "Don't Need Rupert" directive. Speaking of DNR's, why would a healthy person want to sign a "Do Not Resuscitate" order? That is a decision that patients should make at the stage of their illness when resuscitation seems likely to be needed.

Give me a "Please Resuscitate" document, so that if I haven't yet said farewell to friends and family, I can do so regardless of pain or physical incapacity.

Posted by: Bob | Jul 4, 2011 10:51:28 AM

Both of my parents died in the same car-train crash. I am so touched that my mother had put together a list of things like this. It was extremely useful, and at a time when I was very busy with funerals and injured children. Don't assume your spouse will be there to take over.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Jul 4, 2011 12:30:36 PM

Great list, albeit a bit morbid.

Posted by: TaxTalk | Jul 5, 2011 6:28:37 AM

My wife isn't going to like me telling her that we need Number 2 on the list.

Posted by: Woody | Jul 5, 2011 8:12:17 AM

If it's going to be that much trouble, I think I'll skip dying.

Posted by: BobG | Jul 6, 2011 7:17:11 AM