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New Year: Create a Bucket Binder!

New Year: Create a Bucket Binder!

papers falling out of folders on a messy desk

Every January we all enjoy cleaning & organizing our homes in many ways, and that includes getting our paperwork in order. The start of the new year is a great opportunity to ensure your estate planning and financial paperwork is up to date and compiled in an orderly fashion.

Organizing your estate planning documents in one place, such as Bucket Binder, is one of the most helpful things you can do to assist your Personal Representative or Trustee with the management of your estate. If you wish to have assistance with this task, we are happy to help.

Here are some tips to get you started on creating your own Bucket Binder:

1. Pick up these items at a local office supply store:

• 3 ring binder with a clear cover pouch

• One box of top loading clear sheet protectors

• Redi-Tag 2" Durable Tab Adhesive Labels, or similar labels

• Paper

• Scissors

• Assorted markers and pens

• CD’s or flash drives, if you plan to include a digital footprint in your binder

2. What to put into your Bucket Binder:

• Copy of Last Will & Testament

• Health Care and Living Will documents

• Copy of Trust and/or Amendments, if applicable

• Note to Personal Representative or Trustee with any thoughts you might have

• Business cards or contact info for:

o Attorney


o Pastor, Priest or Rabbi

• Asset List with:

o Location of safe deposit box and key and names of anyone who can access the box

o Location of bank and/or brokerage accounts

o List of any real estate owned, including the counties where property is located

o Securities and all other assets

• Insurance documents

• Household vendors contact info such as lawn service, house cleaner, etc.

• Pre-arranged funeral home/burial documents

• Memorabilia

• CD with keepsakes, or memories

• Passwords (keep encrypted for security)

• List of contacts and close friends

3. Assemble all of the pertinent documents into separate sleeves. Use the Tab Adhesive Labels to identify each pouch, and attach the label onto the right edge. If you are computer savvy, print a label for the spine of your Bucket Binder and front cover, and cut it to fit, and insert accordingly. Organize the sleeves in a way that makes sense to you.

4. Don’t forget…As this contains confidential information, you’ll want to be sure your Bucket Binder is kept in a safe location, and inform your Personal Representative or Trustee of its location.

Organizing your documents in this way will give you peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be adhered to. It’s also one gift your Personal Representative or Trustee will be grateful for, long after you are gone.

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