It is always a good idea to keep information organized and in one location that is easy to access in the event it is needed. Creating a binder of information will reduce the stress on your loved ones during a time when they should need to access your information quickly.
This information should be reviewed any time there is a significant change such as: marital status, birth of a child, physical move, or change of job. At a minimum you should review this information on an annual basis and update as necessary.
It does not matter if you use the format that we suggest or create your own. What does matter is that you collect all of the information that is essential in saving your family time and stress. If possible keep your important information in a fireproof safe. Your binder or file does not have to include the originals but it should have a copy and indicate where the original is located.
Create a binder that contains all the important documents that may be needed; including but not limited to:
|Birth Certificates||Marriage Certificates||Marriage Certificates|
|Military Discharge Paperwork||Bank Records||Vehicle Titles|
|Insurance Policy||Deeds||Stock Certificates|
|Tax Forms||Advance Directive||Power of Attorney|
|Will||Funeral Plan – if pre-planned||Burial Plot info.– if pre-planned|
|Quick reference list of information that will be needed by funeral home|
Always ensure that you are keeping your passwords in a safe place and that another trusted individual knows the location of for future access.
Personal Information – This includes your social security number and location, passport number and location, driver’s license number.
Personal Documents – Documents such as Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and Divorce decree.
Military Paperwork – Ensure you have a copy of your DD214 or other discharge document.
Employer Information – You want to include information regarding who to contact to notify your employer. Who is your supervisor, what is their name and number, and the HR department number if you know it.
Banking Information – This information should include name of bank, types of accounts, location of records (check register/or digital login), and account numbers. If you have a safe deposit box include the name of bank, box number, and location of keys.
Finances – This section includes information regarding all of your income. Include items such as pay stub from employer, social security benefits, alimony, or child support documentation.
Investment account information – Include all accounts such as retirement accounts, mutual funds, or college savings plans. Include name of organization account is with, account numbers, passwords, and Point of Contact information.
Old Tax Returns – Keep a copy of a previous year tax return so that information is readily available if necessary. Have the name of your tax preparer and contact information included here.
Bill Information – What are the bills that you currently have and how are they paid. Make sure that you include any information regarding due dates and instructions for payment (i.e. online or mail check). Credit Card Account information should include who the account is with and the account number. Utility information should include the type of utility, account number, and contact number. Cell phone information should include carrier, account number, password, online log-in, and voicemail password. The more information you provide the easier it is to contact the correct creditor when necessary.
Real Estate and personal property – This information is essential to include weather you own or rent your home. If you own your home include mortgage company, account number, and how the payment is made: automatic withdrawal from bank, check, or online. If it is owned outright the location of the deed is helpful. For those that rent the contact information for the landlord, lease agreement and monthly rent will assist with termination of lease. If you have a storage unit the location of the facility, unit number, location of key/lock combination, and point of contact should be documented. Vehicle information should document the Make, Model, Year, VIN number, License plate number, and location of title if paid in full with no auto loan.
Digital Asset information – this information should include account and password information for your personal computer, email accounts, bank accounts, social media, shopping accounts, or any other digital account that you may have.
Insurance documents – This section should include a copy of all of your current policies including home, auto, health, disability or long-term. Information provided should indicate carrier name, policy number, and agent contact information.
Final documents – This would include your advance directive (living will), power of attorney, will, and any trust information you may have. If you do not have a fireproof safe box the next best thing is to keep a copy in your freezer sealed in an airtight/water-proof container. It is always wise to also give a copy to an individual which you trust for safe keeping.
Miscellaneous documents – anything that you may feel is important include in this binder?
Pre-planning and organizing is one of the greatest gifts that you can provide for your family. If you would like assistance putting your affairs in order please contact us for a consultation.