A man witnessed the mess that was made when his girlfriend's parents did not leave behind the proper paperwork when they passed away. Everything having to do with their finances was incredibly complicated and difficult to figure out. He went to his own parents after that and asked them to do a better job of it. They created an entire folder on their computer with all of the most important documents. When they also passed away, he found this folder and was able to settle things with much less confusion than he had seen before.
While death can be something that people in New York do not like to talk about with their parents and family members, it is important for them to think about it. They need to make sure that they have all of the right documentation taken care of so that things will go smoothly in a legal sense. This can make the whole estate administration & probate process far easier for their children.
As far as things that should be included are concerned, it all starts with a will. On top of this, the file should contain financial information about funds such as bank accounts and investments. Furthermore, information about insurance policies should be included, along with information detailing what benefits a person gets from social security.
When looking at insurance, it is important to remember that this does not just mean life insurance. The policies that people have taken out on cars, homes and other such things should also be included, as this information may be needed when assets are being passed along to other family members.
Source: Reuters, "What should be in your 'death' file" Beth Pinsker, Jul. 15, 2014