A *FREE* Legacy Binder on the scene!

Morning, y’all!

So many of you know how much I LOVE Chelsea’s “ICE” Binder she put out the other year (“In Case of Emergency” Binder) – aka Legacy Binder – that houses all the things someone would need to know about you/your finances/family/estate/etc in the untimely death of you or your significant other, so naturally when I saw this note come my way I immediately perked up:

Hi J,

Thought you might be interested in this new ‘Quarantine Project’ I’ve been working on: https://www.freelegacybinder.com/

I’ve been editing it for a couple years along with some financial coaches and FIRE folk, and I finally decided it needs its own site. Would love feedback from you or anyone else reading this.

– B”H

PS – Funny story, because this was being worked on by only financially savvy people, it took several edits before anyone though to add a car loan!



I immediately clicked over to see just how “free” this “free” actually was, and indeed I was able to download it directly off the homepage within a matter of seconds :)

In fact, it’s so free that it doesn’t even require you to give them an email or anything to get it! Haha… You can literally just grab it and go!

(UPDATE: Looks like the link now just redirects right to the free binder document in Good Docs – so just “copy it” or “download it” from the upper left menu and it’s all yours!)

I immediately responded and peppered them with a few questions, and here’s more of what I learned:

How similar is it to Chelsea’s “ICE” legacy binder, do you know?

I’ve never actually bought or opened Chelsea’s binder. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been too cheap (lol, but true) or I didn’t want to unwittingly copy any of her work. It’s really been both or either on any given day.

Obviously the main difference I see is that it’s free vs the $40 ;), and from a quick glance it’s also not as prettily *designed* as hers, but still just as effective, I’m guessing?

It is definitely free, yep, + it’s also much more capable of *personalization* for the DIY crowd. And it’s much more easily *updatable* by me too and anyone else with an idea. So free, customizable, and crowdsourced was my vision for it.

For example, a friend from our ChooseFI Baton Rouge FB Group just texted me out of the blue and told me she and her husband were recording family recipes for their children in case anything happened to them. Boom. Within hours, a family recipes section was in the binder!

You mention FIRE and financial folk. Are you a finance blogger too? Are you allowed to tell me who the others are you’ve been working on with this? ;)

Ha, well, um… :-P … I started a ‘journal’ more than a blog while on Quarantine Staycation:


(Update – since shut down)

My first post “Hello, World!” gives a brief (unflattering?) view of myself. Fun fact, I used to print every personal finance article I read and store them in my hand-me-down briefcase… This was when I was not much bigger than the briefcase. Lol.

The site is not meant to be anything special like yours, ChooseFi, Afford Anything, etc. I just wanted a platform to talk about money and motivate me on my own journey, and maybe help others along the way too. There are only so many people willing to discuss this in real life.

I started the legacy binder project in 2018 while in Financial Coach Academy. I heard the concept of a legacy binder and… I just never let it go. Something in me clicked, and I thought I really wanted to make a free, accessible version of this so everyone can have one.

From there, about half a dozen financial coaches helped out by reviewing and offering great ideas. Same thing with friends from ChooseFI Baton Rouge. Though I imagine I’m the only one to have stayed up at night thinking about it :-P … It wouldn’t have existed without their help.

Anything else to add if I end up turning this into a blog post? :)

Just that it’s free, customizable, and crowdsourced which sums up what I can tell is starkly different than any other binder out there. + I have a pipe dream of turning it into a SAAS similar to You Need a Budget.

FreeLegacyBinder.com would always offer this free binder (actually a significantly better free version) but it would also offer perks like secure storage, third party access (for emergencies or when you pass) etc. for a few dollars a month…

But like I said, right now it’s a pipe dream. Still working on how to fund it and make it better!


Here’s a clip from that first bog post he mentions (“Hello, World!”) which gives a good quick background on him.. He definitely puts it all out there!

I am a recently hired public servant. Trained financial coach. Lifetime finance geek. Lead editor at Your Free Legacy Binder. Upcoming MBA student. Recovering alcoholic and addict. Well-medicated bipolar patient. And generally good person.

So there you have it :) A new Legacy Binder out there that’s free and customizable to your liking.

I re-opened the binder Chelsea sent me just to do a quick comparison, and they’re definitely different in terms of set-up, but equally as helpful.

Chelsea’s is much better designed and more “plug and play” so all you literally have to do is fill in the blank and hit “save” (it’s in PDF format), but on the flip side it also means you can’t *edit* anything as it’s all locked in. Another plus is that it covers a lot more fluffy lifestyle topics at the end so future generations know more about you over the years. Things like what your favorite movies, colors, songs are, what you’re afraid of and what your proudest moments have been, any family traditions you might want carried down, etc etc.

This new free binder, however, is made straight up through Google Docs so it’s super simple and mainly just words, but on the flip side it offers unlimited customization since you can add or tweak any word or section in the entire document. Which comes in handy if you want to include more of those personal stories to be saved over the years as this binder basically sticks to the facts and details.

Still, both of them cover a bulk of everything someone would need in order to manage your estate when you’re gone.

Things like personal passwords and accounts, health and insurance information, names and addresses of family members and friends, doctors, lawyers, accountants, sections to talk about what you want to happen when you die, what your kids might need to know along with their related info, and on and on…

So in a nutshell, both of these binders do the job at least 90% of the way, and then the rest depends on how much more detailed you want to get, and if you want to pay for it or not ;)

Here are the links again to both so you can research further and try one of them out:

The new FREE Legacy Binder (Google Doc) –> FreeLegacyBinder.com

Chelsea’s “ICE” Legacy Binder (PDF, $39) –> EmergencyBinders.com/products/family-emergency-binder*

Whichever one you pick, I hope you get started on it TODAY and just do a little bit at a time! Either of these are 1,000,000x better than having nothing at all for your future loved ones to deal with! And while it doesn’t replace having a will or trust, it sure makes for a powerful companion.

Big thanks again to both B”H and Chelsea for putting these together for us, and I hope it helps you guys pass the #quarantine time that much faster ;)

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  1. Stevo April 30, 2020 at 8:27 AM

    Woo! Choose FI Baton Rouge representing!!!! Just posted in it (my local group). Didn’t know we had Rockstars locally. Thanks for picking up and sharing J$!

    1. B"H April 30, 2020 at 8:33 AM

      Thanks Stevo! I was wondering which member would catch this first. :-P

  2. B"H @ Free Legacy Binder April 30, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    Thanks J Money for this incredible post! I honestly had hoped you would mention us in a simple update on your last Legacy Binder post…..this is sooo much greater! :-D

    Forever grateful – B”H

    1. J. Money April 30, 2020 at 9:05 AM

      thank YOU for putting it together!!

      it’s nice to have options out there – better chance for people to TAKE ACTION! Especially when one of the options are free :)

  3. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto April 30, 2020 at 9:36 AM

    Awesome content, J$! I do a “Love Letter” update every year when we do our net worth, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive as this beast. I’ve downloaded it, will peck away at it over the coming months. Thanks for sharing – gotta love free!!

    1. B"H @ Your Free Legacy Binder April 30, 2020 at 9:45 AM

      Hi Fritz, I hope you find this as comprehensive and beastly as you expect. Let us know if you have any ideas for improvement. And please consider sharing this with your readers! :-)

  4. Francis April 30, 2020 at 12:34 PM

    The timing is awesome as it’s on my To Do list to update my current legacy binder during my downtime.The editable format will help me convert my current binder into a more user friendly document with the help of the index.
    Yes, it will be a real paper binder this time so it can be easily found and referenced.

    Thanks. Great post with a very good tool.

    1. B"H @ Your Free Legacy Binder April 30, 2020 at 12:51 PM

      It’s so great to hear you’ll be using this, Francis. I actually found your site while researching this project! I have it on my to-do list to read at least one of your articles again for ideas. :-P https://www.fromthebachrow.com/sharing-financial-information/

    2. J. Money April 30, 2020 at 12:58 PM

      Smart on printing it out!!

  5. Laura May 1, 2020 at 5:19 PM

    Thanks for sharing this resource! Creating an emergency binder is on my list for 2020! Great use of stay at home time!

    1. J. Money May 1, 2020 at 5:30 PM

      Oh cool!

      Yes – agreed :)

  6. Robert Andrew Whitman May 4, 2020 at 7:48 PM

    I love this idea and the fact that it is free really drives home the DIY spirit. I have no post lrtem plan in place. I’ll have to check out this free binder. :)

    1. J. Money May 5, 2020 at 6:19 AM

      Please do!! A great thing to get started on, even if it takes a while to complete :)