Document Collection for Estate Organizing

Once you reach an age where you have any assets, even just a steady income, you need to think about document organization. The closer you get to retirement, the more important it becomes.

Where to start though? What documents do you need on hand? What legal documents should you be updating?

That’s the tricky part. This list of important documents to update and have on file will help you get your estate organizing on track.

Documents to Update

There are a few key legal documents and affairs you should update right away, if you haven’t done so recently.

  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney and Executors
  • Trusts
  • Property Deeds and Titles
  • Health Care Directives

These are the documents you want updated and accessible, as they guide all other decisions in case of emergency.

Important Documents to Organize

Identification

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce papers (if applicable)
  • Prenuptial agreements (if applicable)
  • Health care directives
    – Living will
    – Proxy
    – Do No Resuscitate (DNRs)
    – Power of attorney
    – Executors
  • Login ID’s and passwords

Financial

  • Bank account records (chequing and savings accounts)
    – Institution, account #
  • Credit card statements and account info
  • Investment portfolio
    – Stocks, mutual funds, TFSAs, GICs, RRSPs, etc.
  • Insurance policies
    – Home, auto, life, tenant etc.
  • Loan agreements
  • Mortgage payments
  • Recent tax returns
  • Pension plan documents

Property

  • Mortgage documents
  • Lease agreements (car, boat etc.) and purchase documents for all assets
  • Property tax information

Utilities

  • Statements and information for
    – Hydro
    – Water
    – Gas
    – Cable
    – Phone
    – Internet/Wifi
    – Electricity

Business (Self-Employed)

  • Registered business accounts with CRA
  • HST returns and payments

Contacts

  • Name and contact number of
    – Power of attorney
    – Executors
    – Lawyer
    – Accountant
    – Financial advisor
    – Doctors
    – Real estate agent
    – Insurance providers
  • Include any relevant contacts to supplement above documents

These documents make up the cornerstone aspects of your life and need to be readily accessible should an emergency occur. Every case is different though, and there may be documents you specifically need that others don’t. For this reason, you should give a professional organizer a call to make sure you have everything you need.