Creating a file of life for in case something happens to you

The file of life for if something happens

Most of us have the desire to leave a legacy. We want our children and those close to us to have everything they need when we’re gone.

To make it easier for everyone, it’s a good idea to have a file with all your personal information, all policies, and everything that you own in a single place. I call this the file of life.

You’re never too young to get this in place. Remember, you don’t know when others might need it!

What should be in my file?

Your file of life is about you.

It’s all about who you are.

It’s about your legacy.

It’s good to put in legal stuff, money stuff and personal stuff. 

Legal paperwork

The most important things to add to your file of life are legal documents. These include:

  • Your testament – remember if you die without a will, it will take longer for your family to get what is due to them. It might cause them severe financial distress!
  • Your last will (an ethical will) – include your last wishes.
  • Marriage/Divorce certificates – keep those handy!
  • Trust and company paperwork – If you have a living trust or own shares in a company, keep the details here

Investments, debt and policies

Did you know that many people don’t know that they have pensions in some places? R 42 billion is currently unclaimed. Imagine what our families can do with that amount of money!

Ad the following investments in your file of life:

  • Cheque and Savings accounts with your bank
  • Pension funds and retirement annuities you own
  • Shares, bonds, funds and annuities in which you have investments
  • Alternative investments
    • Bitcoin wallet pin
    • Location of your Krugerrand vault
    • Money invested with non-listed companies and schemes such as Ponzi and pyramid schemes
    • Certificates of authenticity for art, precious stones, etc.
  • Investment property info – include levy, rates and taxes account numbers, home loan info and title deeds.

It’s a good idea to add all policies and insurance products in your file of life. Remember: someone would need to cancel these goodies when needed!

  • Funeral policies
  • Life cover
  • Dread disease cover
  • Retrenchment cover
  • Short term insurance (car, home, phone and coffee insurance)

Also include all your debts – car, home and credit cards.

Personal information

Imagine just disappearing. And no one knows what happened to you. Imagine your loved ones finding a letter you wrote to them, saying how much you love them. 

This little thing can make a very big difference in the life of your child, your siblings or even your parents,

Make sure you add personal things in the file. Don’t just add things like “Please add on my tombstone: I told you I was sick!”

Have some heart!

There is obviously some admin paperwork which might make it more manageable that you can include:

  • SARS Tax return numbers
  • Social media, email and computer passwords – if you have an online password manager, only include the one password then!
  • Medical aid details
  • Letters to close friends and family

Linking other people to your file

A file of life is only awesome if you have a few people that will be able to access it. Choose a few close friends and family to give the information to. If you fear people using this information against you, you can make this digital, and stick up the password randomly under one of your drawers – you can let them know which one. 

You don’t necessarily want your sister to know how much money you have while you’re alive!


A file of life will help the loved ones – and also help you to leave a legacy.

Don’t postpone it. 

Get everything in place,

Remember, this could be good for you as well to keep track of all your investments!

Happy investing!


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