10 Business Documents You Need Before You Die

What would happen to your business if you died today?

Look, we know you don’t want to touch this subject with a ten-foot pole, but it’s time to get real and responsible. If you died today, would your family know how to handle your business loose-ends?

Here are ten documents you need before you die.

1. List of passwords:

Create a list of passwords and login information for all the websites you use.

2. List of online friends:

Leave names and email addresses for all your online friends and important contacts.

3. List of business contacts:

Create a list of your business suppliers, product representatives, mentors or advisers and anyone else key to your business.

4. List of your bank accounts:

Create a document with information for each bank account.

5. List of business information:

Make a folder of legal business paperwork, such as your seller’s permit, business registration and any other business documents your family may need.

6. Website instructions:

If you have website or use a hosting site like Etsy or Ebay, create a document with your login and basic user instructions in case your family needs to navigate the site to wrap up orders or answer emails.

7. A will:

If you don’t have a will, see your attorney and get one now.

8. Proof of ownership:

If you own any property or tangible items, like a vehicle, in your name only, create a folder with proof of ownership of each item.

9. Life insurance and 401K policies:

If you have life insurance or retirement accounts, create a document with contact information for your insurance or retirement representatives and any account numbers, and keep them along with your policies.

10. Durable health forms:

A durable healthcare power of attorney lists your wishes should you be seriously injured or ill and allows your spouse or designated family member to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Be honest: have you thought about readying these business documents before this post? Open up in the comments.

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Heather Allard

Heather Allard is a mom of three kids + one big rescue dog. She's a wellness buff, an essential oil educator with dōTERRA, and a self-professed “entrepreneur to the core”.
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14 Comments

  1. Nancy

    I have in fact taken care of a few — passwords document. Someday, I pray we will have a universal password system in place. This week I received by LLC from the state. I promise to work on my will this year.

    Reply
  2. Sarah Clachar

    Great list, Heather. I’ve got some work to do!

    Reply
  3. Suzy Mac

    WOW.

    What a wake up call!! Here I am thinking I am safe (my best friend is a lawyer) and I don’t even have half of what you have on the list done! I can’t thank you enough for bringing this to our attention.

    Thank you also, Heather, for sharing your very personal and poignant story to drive home the need for us getting our acts together on these points.

    It’s ironic, I was just looking into getting an organizer (either online or hardcover) that could be effective for organizing my business as well as keeping important documents all in one place. Is there anything you recommend?

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hi Suzy,
      I’m so glad this was useful for you – and honestly, it took me a long time to get life insurance despite having lost my dad so young. It’s a scary/delicate thing to face our mortality but I believe the best gift we can give to ourselves and our loved ones is the security of knowing that they will be taken care of when we’re no longer here.

      I just use a plastic accordion folder to keep my documents – works well and it’s easy for my husband to access, too.

      Hope that helps! 🙂
      Heather

      Reply
  4. Becky

    One thing not mentioned was having a family trust and/or a business trust set up, and then letting the members of your family know where it and all other documents are going to be. You need a copy of all loans and contracts, and I have known some people who have written their own obituary and funeral arrangements.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      You’re right, Becky! Great idea. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  5. Elise Adams @AdamsOrganizing

    Love comprehensive lists like this…are there any good resources for compiling all of these in an online database or vault somehow? I’ve heard of them for home use (can’t recall the name right now) but wondering about a simplified for business-owners type of compilation-with-encription resource.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hmmm, I’m not sure Elise. Does anyone else know?

      Reply
  6. Rayvin Nyte

    Yes I have I even put most of them together before I went for surgery last March. But they need to be better organized and updated now. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  7. Libby Unwin

    I’ve thought about it, and have some of it written down, but the idea of writing a will seems so…morbid. But it must be done. I know, I know.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      It does, Libby – but would you rather write a will despite the morbidity or die without one? That’s a topic that hits close to home for me – my father died at 36 years old after a fatal fall at my 3rd birthday party. Thankfully, he had a will and life insurance that provided for my mom and my sister, brother and I.

      Thanks for weighing in…

      Reply
  8. Eva Van Strijp

    I’ve done usernames and passwords, bank accounts and business info.

    Must do website instructions and business contacts. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply

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