However, preparing THE Folder is much more than just avoiding stress; if you leave behind an administrative nightmare, you could delay access to inheritors’ funds and potentially cost a small fortune in legal fees.
To give you an example of this, the UK Department of Work and Pensions estimates that there is currently more than £400 million sitting in unclaimed pension pots in the UK.
Which is best…..physical or digital?
This comes down to personal preference. It can be done by either creating an electronic file that survivors can access in the event of death, or an actual paper file. An electronic file can be stored on your main computer, in the cloud or on an external hard drive. Make sure everyone knows how to access the computer, cloud or hard drive though!
Alternatively, if you use a physical folder to keep all of the important information together, make sure it is large enough to keep everything together. The good old shoe box has been a long time winner in this department, although a well organised file does make life a lot easier for everyone.
For what it’s worth, I find lots of people prefer paper and are happier with hard copies of everything. I personally prefer digital, which I have shared with some trusted family members. It may even be worth considering asking your legal advisers to hold the folder on your behalf (electronic is much better for this reason), so a simple visit to them if anything happens means they can assist you far more easily with everything.
Typically they will want all of the information it contains anyway, so by saving time when it becomes relevant, the small annual charge they may make for holding the information will normally be offset.
How often should THE Folder be reviewed?
It is sensible to note the date that it was last reviewed, so that anyone using it has an idea of how up-to-date the details are, and then going forward, reviewing the file on an annual basis should be sufficient, or of course, whenever a significant change occurs which you consider materially important.
I have already stressed this, be sure to tell someone about it! There is little point going to the effort of creating such a folder if no one knows of its existence or where to find it…..