By the end of January, many of us have already lost sight of our New Year’s Resolution. Were we supposed to walk more or watch more Netflix? Sometimes it’s hard to remember when the temperature dips and the snow piles up.
While waiting for spring to thaw, take a head start on Spring Cleaning and use your time to organize valuable documents. Making sure they all have a place in your household is as satisfying as any household purging, but invaluable to yourself and your family in a time of need. We recommend storing your most important papers in a fire safe lock box or cabinet. If it locks or has a code, make sure you share that with your children, spouse, or anyone you want to have access in case of emergency. We do not recommend storing these documents in a safety deposit box. In the event of your death, next of kin will not have immediate access that may be needed.
What types of papers qualify as important? In this case, save things like life insurance policies, titles to assets, identifying documents such as birth certificates, bank account numbers, and a log of important online accounts and passwords. Consider including discharge papers as well, as these should be readily available. Make sure your last will and testament or living will, as well as pre-planned funeral arrangements are included as well. If you have any relatives or children living with you, consider making a file in your documents for their birth records or other important paperwork so everyone’s papers are in the same place. Keep like things together. Papers such as letters, cards, children’s artwork, and report cards are important, but can be stored separately in airtight containers.
Not only is it a great idea to disclose the location of these to your family members, but sit down with them and discuss your will and funeral arrangements. Make sure they’re clear on your intentions and wishes and allow them to ask questions on anything they’re not sure about. Making sure everyone is on the same page with your requests will help your family down the road.
For more information on preplanning your funeral, please click here.