Taxes are due in two weeks and since we like to look on the “bright” side, this is the perfect time to refresh and re-organize all your important documents (while you have them at your fingertips).  It can be surprising how many things can change in a year…new jobs, new homes, babies, puppies and that new motorcycle or boat just waiting for the weather to break.

Take this time to give all your important documents the right home, so when that random school form, loan application or insurance claim arises you can easily find what you need.  Having things in the right place not only makes your day-to-day life easier, but it can make an emergency less chaotic for you and your loved ones. But more often than not, we have our important paperwork in the wrong place.

1.  All your bank account statements are online

Digital financial statements get rid of clutter, but if you have absolutely no paper trail of an account you (and your loved ones) can easily lose track of it. It is good practice to store a paper version of the most recent YEAR-END STATEMENT with all your other important documents.

2.  All your monthly bills are on auto-pay

Electronic billing makes the process effortless, but if you have no paper trail of the charge, changing it without access to your online account can be a nightmare.  It is good practice to store a paper version of ONE MONTHLY BILL that includes the account number and customer support contacts with all your other important documents.

3.  Your personal insurance policies are at the office

If you receive health, disability and/or life insurance from your employer you probably received a SUMMARY PAGE with all your account information.  Keeping this at the office can be problematic if you (or your loved ones) need to access the information immediately.

4.  The title to your car is in the glove box

If your car gets stolen, your proof of ownership is gone too.  The same goes for keeping the deed to your house in your house un-protected.  Store these documents in a safe place anywhere but with the item they prove you own.

5.  Your will and powers of attorney are in a bank safe deposit box

If you put your original will and powers of attorney in a safe deposit box, there is a good chance your advocates are going to have a hard time getting to them.  Unless everyone is named on the account with the bank, it’s like locking the keys to the car in the car.

We created an Important Documents Checklist to help you know the best and worst places to keep your important documents.

Important Document Checklist

Remember, regardless if your documents are in the right place or not, organize and share essential instructions where they can be found using Your future self (and loved ones) will thank you.

Have any other document organizing tips? Please share them in the comments!


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