Exit Planning: Organizing Your Vital Records

No one really wants to think about it, but exit planning can be a blessing for those you love.  Planning for what happens to your assets, your debts, and even your email account and digital identity, can give you a sense of peace and security, even if you are nowhere near your final act. Organizing your vital records looks a little bit like cleaning up your files, but there is a layer of detail added in, taking time to do things like contacting financial firms or governmental authorities, to make sure all is in order.

Exit Planning: Organizing Your Vital Records


Recently, I went through my own family’s vital records, made copies, and removed the originals to a safer location.  People call me just about every month because they’ve lost their birth certificate, a child’s birth certificate, or their passport.

You can take a moment to download my free list of Vital Records  here, and use this to guide what documents you need to locate, copy, and safeguard. When I did this for my family, it took about 3 hours, total.

By the way, you don’t need any fancy books, folders, or software to get your affairs in order.  Chances are that most of your vital records are still in paper form, and a standard 2″ folder with dividers will work just fine to help you get your vital records in order.

This is one of those things that falls into the “important but not urgent” category, for sure.  I’m traveling to visit my parents this summer, and I hope to help them with it as well.  My mom tells me that their final will and testament still has designations for guardianship for my brother and I should my parents die.  I think their will might need updating while we’re at it.

What would help you start your exit planning: organizing your vital records?