You never know what life will throw at you. Your documents may be unsafe where they are. Will your documents survive a flood or fire? Not only do your documents need to be safe, but they also need to be updated and organized. We can help you!
- Digital versus paper
- We all have a safe that is packed full of documents. Get rid of them by buying a scanner and shredder. Scan those documents into a secure location. Then shred the ones with personal information, especially those with social security numbers. Digitalizing your documents make it easier to share and free up all that space in your home office (3).
- Don’t forget, once you scan your documents for digitalizing, save them in 2 different secured places to ensure that nothing is lost. This can be done with iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive; all free and easy to access (3). You also have access to secure digital filing systems with your financial advisor. Ask about it!
- Brain like an executor?
- The papers to organize and tackle first are the documents closest to you. Your will, bank statements, insurance policies, and birth certificate are just a few examples. Get involved with one of the latest innovations of online services to organize all your documents into one single and easily accessible place. The first step is to be knowledgeable; the second step is to execute (2).
- Kept and hidden
- There are several official records that should be kept instead of digitalized. This includes passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, and adoption decrees, property and vehicle deeds, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, signed and notarized powers of attorney, a will, and medical directive paperwork. These are all precious documents that should be physical but would not hurt to have a secured digitalized copy too (6).
- Emergency trail
- Provide your worst-case scenario documents to as many people as you can. Provide one for the doctor, have one in your home safe, some even say have one in the glove box of your care. This document can have you “in case of emergency contacts”. You can even put this on your iPhone emergency call screen.
- The next bread crumb trail is to guide your heirs. This can be done by making sure they have access to your digitalized documents (4,5).
- Everything has its place
- It is best to have a central location in a home office or in a home closet that is a collection of documents. This can be notes, bills, reminders, and any other paperwork. Begin scheduling the first Monday of every month, clean through it, and organize it. It is helpful to have a system set (1).
Let’s get going! Start small. Pick one tip above and take action. What feels like a small win today could make the biggest difference for your loved ones down the road.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you can ask your advisor for help. They know your financial situation and know what is important and what is not in your life.
Sources: Real Simple; pcmag.com; “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity(1)”; LastPass (2); yourdigitalafterlife.com (3); Everplans (4); NPR’s Life Kit (5); keepitsafe.com (6)