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Have you made THE folder?

By Chris Webb
This article is published on: 10th July 2024

Due to emotional and unfortunate circumstances faced by some of my clients recently, I am drawn back to the importance of a simple document we created some years back, during our Covid lockdowns of 2020, and have recommended that our clients do the same.

Most have embraced it, some probably haven’t. Personally, I think it’s of benefit to everybody, but we all have our own ways of doing things. A lot of time and effort went into producing the document, based on previous client experiences, and our own. There didn’t seem to be an appropriate name for it at the time, so we simply called it ‘’The Folder’’.

The whole point of creating your folder is to ensure that there is a record of your assets, your important contact information and plenty more. It is a single file or folder and can be digital or physical. This folder will allow you to detail any important information / assets where it is vital a record is kept. We think we have covered everything and believe this document will make things a lot easier for everybody in many different circumstances.

Recent dealings with my clients reminded me to review my own folder and unsurprisingly there were a few changes to be made………

your folder

There are many scenarios where you´ll be thankful for making the folder. When I moved house I went straight to the folder and had all the company’s contact information as well as all the policies or account details which were relevant. This made informing them all much easier. I´ve also lost family members where finding their folder reduced the stress in dealing with their estate. In these moments of stress, you can find yourself trawling through endless pieces of paperwork to ascertain asset and account details, then you get that lightbulb moment…….. why wasn’t it all documented.

And that’s exactly why the folder was created.

Apart from dealing with personal practicalities, like moving house, I believe the folder comes into its element when having to deal with the loss of a loved one. Rather than spending hour after hour trying to unravel their finances, all the information is to hand, in one folder. Having experienced both sides of this situation (one with a folder and one without) I completely understand the additional pain caused by what should have been easy administrative tasks. The folder took most of that pain away. Speaking to some of my clients recently I know they are feeling the same………….

As I mentioned earlier, the folder can be physical or digital. For the physical folder it is vital to only list information that would not create a problem should that folder end up in the wrong hands. So, I have only listed the names, telephone numbers, policy / account numbers of all our assets. It would give enough information for someone to be able to deal with our affairs with minimum hassle.

Some still ask, is it worth the effort?
Well, I think it is. A time of loss can be stressful enough without having to try and piece together the deceased’s financial affairs. This can be a really difficult time for family members. However, preparing the folder is much more than avoiding stress; if you leave behind an administrative nightmare you could delay the access of inheritors or beneficiaries of funds and potentially cost a small fortune in legal fees. Imagine trying to track down investments you have no record of or pensions that may have been held for 50 years or more?

To give you an example of this, the UK Department of Work and Pensions estimate that there is currently more than £400 million sitting in unclaimed pensions pots in the UK. Good luck trying to find out if you have one!

what to include in the folder

If you´re wondering what to include, the Folder makes that very clear and is simple to follow. It´s essential to list what assets you have, where they are and important contact information for each asset. Keep copies of any insurance policy documents, pension statements etc.

I have put a small list below which would help most people but you do need to look at all your assets individually to make sure the list is as correct as possible

  • Personal pension documents
  • Employer pension details
  • Details of any entitlement to state pensions
  • List of bank accounts with account numbers, login details
  • Details of any credit cards
  • Property, land and cemetery deeds
  • Proof of loans made
  • Vehicle ownership documents
  • Stock certificates, brokerage accounts, investment platform details, online investment account details
  • Details of holdings of premium bonds, government bonds, investment bonds

This list is based on my own experiences and those of my clients – you need to be thorough when completing the folder, ensuring nothing is left out.

And don’t forget to review your folder. I will admit to being guilty of not keep my folder up to date and tend to only look at the folder when something significant changes in our lives. It´s easy enough to overlook a change in insurance company or something that at the time doesn’t seem hugely important. I reviewed mine recently and it was just that – small changes to our circumstances, but apart from being hidden deep within our emails there was no other record of those changes.

I would recommend reviewing the folder on an annual basis, but if you’re extra diligent you should review and update every time something changes. For example, if you change insurance companies then add the new details and delete the old. This is a continuous job, its not something you do once and never look at again.

Most importantly – please remember to tell someone about your folder!

Someone needs to know you have made one and whether it´s digital or physical. If its digital they need to know if there´s also a password. Personally, I have sent copies of mine by email to family members, so they have a record of it. They don’t need to know your passwords, just the basics.

Remember, there is very little point going to all this effort if know body knows it exists.

I hope you consider completing your folder. Unfortunately, most people only consider it when they´re trying to deal with a situation and as mentioned, they have that lightbulb moment. Taking an hour out of your time now will save someone many, many hours later down the line.

If you have any questions about The Folder or other aspects of your finances, please feel free to reach out on

Article by Chris Webb

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