The worst time to try and find something is when you need to have it and have little time to find it. Crises strike in many forms – natural disasters, family deaths, sudden moves, illness, divorce. Hindsight is 20-20 and that’s when we often get total clarity about what could have been done to prepare and alleviate some of the stress of the crisis.
You can be one step ahead by finding and organizing critical documents. Believe it or not, we have found all these for clients hiding among hundreds of other papers in drawers, bags, and boxes…
- Titles for cars
- Deductible receipts and statements for the current year
- Grant deeds for owned property
- Passports, birth certificates and death certificates
- Original stock certificates
- Improvement receipts so homeowner could deduct from purchase cost of house to reduce taxable profit
- Genealogy records
- Open bank and credit accounts that had been forgotten
- Will and trust documents
- Life insurance policies
- Contact info for all companies that insurance you
- Social Security card
- Pension and retirement plan records
- Marriage and divorce documents
Many of these can be replaced if lost but often not without cost and hassle.
If you aren’t ready to create an entire filing system at least make sure to create a dedicated home for these essential documents.
Bonus: keep your important documents in something portable that you can grab in an emergency. If all you have is a cardboard box to collect your important documents, use it. Progress is better than perfection!
If you want to go a step further, there are products available to help you capture your vital documents. A few to consider are: FreedomFiler®, Vital Records PORTAVAULT® or Suze Orman’s Protection Portfolio.
“The Freedom Filer kit is fantastic and was easy to move when I evacuated. Everything I needed was there. I love it!” Kathleen, LA wildfire evacuee