Keep Critical Documents Safe and Accessible
In case of a fire or an immediate evacuation order, could you quickly find all of your important documents? If you're like most
people, your birth certificate, marriage license, insurance papers, mortgage and retirement fund information are in several
Not only could this cause problems for you in an emergency, if they are needed by your family at a difficult time, their search
could be difficult and frustrating. According to New York Life Insurance, the best way to store critical documents is to keep them
in a fireproof cabinet or safe.
Divide them into categories and mark each one clearly in case your family has to locate them on your behalf. Include:
* Key contacts: phone numbers and addresses for family, banks, life, home, auto and health insurance
* Identification documents: birth certificate, adoption papers, a copy of your driver's license, Social Security
card, marriage licenses or civil union certificates.
* Emergency information: whatever would be needed if you became seriously ill or injured, such as living wills,
care proxies, beneficiary forms, IRAs, 401(k)s, last will and testament, burial instructions, cemetery plot and
deeds or prepaid cremation documents, military discharge papers, funeral home preferences and information
* Insurance policies: life insurance policies and documents, health and accident IDcards and claim records,
mortgage insurance policies, annuity statements and documents, beneficiary forms and long-term care
* Financial paperwork: your checks, bank statements, mortgages, auto and other loan information, credit card
statements, appraisals of valuable items, rental or lease agreements, investments, real estate deeds or titles
of ownership, and last year's tax returns.
Review the information with those who would need access to it.