Organizing and having essential personal documents available is not only beneficial to you, but could be a godsend to your family and heirs should you become disabled and after you die. Your essential personal documents include:
- Citizenship, passport, social security and Medicare cards and information
- Medical, disability and other health insurance documents
- Medications, doctors and general medical care information
- Funeral, burial and related plans and instructions
- Military service and benefit information
- Marriage, divorce and child custody documents
- Durable healthcare power of attorney, living will, do not resuscitate order and HIPPA authorization
- Wills, trusts and estate documents
- Durable financial power of attorney
- Documentation of property ownership, including home, cemetery plots, vehicles, stocks, bonds, etc.
- Documents regarding loans and debts owed, including mortgages and car payments
- List of assets owned and their locations
- List of bank and brokerage accounts with account numbers and contact information
- Safe deposit box information with location of corresponding keys
- Tax returns for not less than three years
- Life insurance, pension, annuity and retirement documents
- Passwords to internet accounts
- Business ownership and related documents
If you own a business, similar documents relating to the business should also be organized and protected. Many experts recommend that these documents be kept safely outside of the business or home, in the event of a catastrophe. An heir, spouse, child or the person you anticipate would be the administrator or executor of your estate should know where this information is located and how to obtain it if necessary.
As part of this organization and collection of documents, you should also consider creation of a will or estate plan, or updating your will or estate plan. If we can assist you in these matters, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Douglas C Tibble