What are the documents that are needed in case of an emergency? What details should my wife know if I am dead or in a coma? This is a question that has been nagging me since I started improving my personal finance and journey towards financial independence. Death is certain for all. In case of death or an accident, you need to ensure that there is a proper set of documents and lists helping your spouse or children out.
What do I mean by Documents in case of Emergency
Let us say you meet with an accident and fall into a coma, or god forbid, pass away. Are your family aware of your financial position? What loans needs to be paid? Who owe you money? How much you have in which bank account? What all insurance policies are there that they need to claim? These are some of the basic details that your spouse or children should be aware of.
Loosing you is going to be a big loss and trauma for them. If that is not bad enough, it is even worse to be left out with no funds or knowledge on how to carry. Putting together this list of documents in case of an emergency or death will make it easier for them.
What all should be included in this document
Here is a comprehensive list of documents your family will need in case of emergency, when you are not around:
Physical Documents & things
- Your Will and testament
- A Springing Power of Attorney
- House Deeds, sale deeds, bonds, all other legal documents
- PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Passport and other important documents
- Credit & Debit cards
- Keys to assets or details on where to find them
Digital details & plans
- Digital Accounts, passwords
- Bank Account user ID, Passwords
- Mobile wallets, passwords, user names
- Stock and demat account passwords and user names
- Insurance and Loan accounts, user ID, Password
- PF, VPF and other portal details
- Expense sheet for your family – monthly expenses (electricity, property tax, insurances etc)
- Laptop, phone, digital device passwords
Other details to Family
- Important Contact details
- Benefits – What benefits are available and how to get them for PF, VPF, PPF, Pension etc
- Insurances – What Insurances you have taken and how to claim them
- Incomes – rents, royalties, interest that you should be getting, with details on who, when why
- Investments – Details of all investments you have made, when, how much, maturity etc
- Loans – Details of all loans you have given out and those you have taken
- Bank Lockers – Details of which locker, where, passwords, what is in them etc
- Assets – details on all movable and immovable assets
- Last messages, advice and anything else
How to prepare the emergency documents and details
There are a number of ways you can put this together. It is different for each person depending on their needs. I personally have all
- my original documents in a binder that is in a bank locker which my wife and I have access to
- password protected Excel file on the cloud in an account my wife has access to. This file has all password and account details, from bank accounts to Netflix 🙂
- Physical cards, passports etc stored in a secure location
- I’ve also had a talk with my wife, walking her through all Insurance benefits, PF, assets, loans etc.
- As I have various alternate investments etc, this is very much needed to ensure my wife can access them when I am not there
Avoid misuse of these details
This set of documents is powerful. It can hurt you deeply if the wrong person gets it. Still, your spouse or children should be aware of it and know how to get hold of it when required. At the right time, when you are no longer there. Take due caution when sharing such details with anyone. Ensure that these documents are readily available to your spouse or children if anything were to happen to you. But at the same time is secure enough no one else gets hold of them.
There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Bank locker holding these details jointly held by your spouse or children
- Digital details, excel sheet with passwords etc can be in an USB and stored in the locker
- Trusted Lawyer or a Family member
- For digital things such as account details, passwords etc, you can always have a shared account with your spouse or children on a number of cloud or other such services.
A valid will, Springing Power of Attorney, detailed list of investments, bank account details, details of loans given and taken, bank locker details, list of movable/immovable assets, accounts and passwords, your PAN, Aadhar, Passport etc. These are some of the most important documents and information that will help your spouse and children if you are not around.
A Springing Power of Attorney is one that takes effect when certain conditions are met. Eg: You are incapacitated, in a coma, mentally incapable of decision making etc.