What’s in Your Legacy File?
Or should I be asking if you even have one?
As organized and semi-OCD as I am, I didn’t have one until recently.
I guess I should go over what a Legacy File is in the first place before I continue.
I first heard the term in Dave Ramsey’s Legacy class. I went through the course with my dad at a church I attended at the time.
According to Dave Ramsey, a Legacy File is…
“a special place to store the important documents your family will need if something happens to you.”
It doesn’t matter…
- how old you are
- how little you own
- how big or small your family is
- or anything else
Everyone needs a Legacy File!
I recently saw the calamity that can occur when a loved one passes and doesn’t have one. A family friend recently passed away suddenly, and his family spent a very long time trying to find basic papers for life insurance, bank accounts, and more. They also needed to find documents related to gun collections, rare collectibles, and other items so they could pass those on or sell them to pay off debt he left behind. They even had a hard time discovering what the debts were. And don’t even get me started on them searching for passwords.
I could go on and on for days on why each and every person out there reading this needs a Legacy File, but I’d rather jump into what goes into it. With that said, if you need convincing or at least a convincing argument for someone else, get in touch, and I’ll give you one.
Where do I keep it?
Digital: Keep a digital file on your computer labelled “Legacy File” and put everything in it. This way, your loved ones can find it.
If your computer is password-protected, be sure they have the password. I keep mine on a document in the safe.
Even if you have the digital docs saved somewhere else, copy-paste them into this file also. For example, I have my car titles in my Auto file, but I also copied them into my Legacy File.
Analog: Keep the originals and copies (if that’s all you have) in a fire safe as well. This doesn’t have to be a vault in the wall either. I have a small portable waterproof/fireproof/crushproof safe that is my physical Legacy File.
Back-Ups: I have several layers of back-ups for my Legacy File as well.
- Encrypted USB drive in my Bug Out Bag
- Copies of some documents like my will and Legacy File instructions are with my parents.
- Small packet of paper copies of really important docs is in another safe place in a waterproof bag in case I need to grab it quick.
- Safety deposit box at the bank
- Top Secret hidden off-site location. I’m just kidding about this, because a lot of people think I’m a prepper. Or am I kidding? You decide, but you’ll never find it if I’m not.
What goes into it?
I’m going to give you a bullet point list here for all these, but stay tuned, and I’ll post links to forms and detailed instructions in future articles.
I’m developing a Legacy File suite of forms that will be available for sale online, but I’m posting these for free to my email subscribers, so be sure to sign up for my list if you’re not already.
- Last Will and Testament and related documents (Living Will, Estate Plan, etc)
- Info on all your financial and bank accounts
- Cryptocurrency instructions (if you’re into this), especially your seed phrases
- Copies of insurance documents for car, house, life, health, everything
- Funeral instructions. This may seem morbid to some of you, but do this! I already have my funeral planned out, and it’s going to be so much fun, I hate that I’m going to miss it. It’s going to include people shooting flaming arrows at a boat loaded with my cremains.
- Personal documents like birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, military DD-214, etc
- Personal letters to your loved ones
- List of passwords
- Contact information for important people like bank, accountant, attorney, insurance agent, etc
- Vehicle titles or purchase contracts
- House information like mortgage and surveys
- Irreplacable sentimental papers
Depending on your personal situation, this could be a small packet of documents or it could be a large pile. As a bachelor I started out with a tiny firesafe. Now as a dad with five kids and a wife, my firesafe is much larger. I actually bought one that holds hanging file folders so I could separate the paperwork into categories.
This may seem like a long article, but it’s only a short synopsis of what really could go into all this. Like I said, stay tuned, and I’ll be posting a lot more as I develop the forms.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Dave, the guy who may or may not have a top secret mountain cave somewhere full of his important documents and childhood toys and perhaps an extremely rare original Boba Fett action figure