Record Keeping - Personal and Vital Documents
Can you put your hands on your important or vital documents in 10 minutes or less? Does someone close to you know where to find them?
In a health crisis or even death, without your important documents in order and easily accessible by a trusted person, you put your loved ones in a very time-consuming, expensive, and stressful process at a time that is emotionally difficult for them.
For the most part of this article I will focus on the gathering and recording of your documents into one binder,
but also be aware it is important to have a health care directive and durable power of attorney. These two items provide you with an advocate and insure that your wishes will be followed.
DIY - Creating an Important and Vital Record Binder
Organizing vital records and creating a file/binder (a document management system), is the key to having all of your information in one place for quick easy access, sharing, and updating. You can choose to have a physical binder or an electronic binder, or both.
Step #1 - Have an accordion file handy - Gather all of your important and vital documents into one place. This file is a holding place as you come across your documents.
Step #2 - DIY BINDER - Get a 4” ring binder, file dividers with tabs you can write on, and a box of protective sheet covers that are made to fit the binder.
Step #3 - Use a legal pad to write down the different categories and gather the necessary documents, passwords, account numbers, etc. for each category.
Go back to your according file and pull out the information for Banking that you gathered - all your bank account information, account numbers, passwords, bank address, phone number, and the name of bank manager if you have a relationship with them.
Label the plastic sleeve Banking or be sure the piece of paper inside shows the content.
Write or type on a sheet of paper all the necessary information regarding banking. Insert this written information into the plastic sleeve. You decide if you want to keep loose papers or just the written or typed paper with the information.
Now repeat step #3 for each category
Step #4 - Electronic Filing - You might want to have a copy on your computer and a saved flash drive with the information residing with a family member or legal representative and a copy in a fireproof safe.
Step #5 - Update as needed or at least every three years.
Alphabetical order - helps make finding the records easier
Categories: Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, Doctors, Insurance, Investments, Lawyers, Marriage License, Medical Records (for each family member, pets), Mortgages, Passports, Real Estate Holdings, Social Security numbers, Burial plots, etc.
Storage — You want to store your records in a fireproof protected safe and keep a copy with another family member or legal representative outside of your home.
Note: This is a time consuming process so you can break it up into different days. Decide to allocate a certain amount of time for each session to build the binder. Work on a topic at a time such as all medical files for one family member. If you are writing information such as passwords and account numbers I suggest you use a pencil.
**If you need help I am available to guide you. Simply Organized by Suzann also has a 96 page downloadable binder available to customize for you. Contact me for details. firstname.lastname@example.org