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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Are your records organized?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If you were incapacitated, would anyone be able to find your important records and take care of your family's financial or business matters? Having important papers organized and accessible in advance can be very important in an emergency or crisis situation.

Consider the following for your important record organization.

Location. Options for storage might include a home safe, fire-security box, or off-site location such as a safety deposit box. The storage container should be securable and fire resistant. Shoe boxes or cardboard boxes in the closet or under the bed are not appropriate.

Who knows. Does someone in addition to your spouse know where these papers are kept? Consider making a list of such papers and records, and on the list state where these documents can be found. Then advise a trusted third part, an attorney, CPA, relative, or family friend, as to where this list is kept.

The general idea is that someone not domiciled in your residence know about this list and how to access it. This decision requires a certain comfort level, and you alone are able to make that determination.

Which papers? Regardless of who knows what, organized records are always a plus. Consider the following items for your "important documents" list:

* Safety deposit box key,

* Life insurance policies,

* Deeds, contracts, leases, titles, mortgage(s), loan notes,

* Banking, savings, investment and retirement account(s) records,

* Will,

* Burial arrangements,

* All other insurance policies (health, auto, home, etc.), and

* Birth certificates.

Beyond however you decide to store your personal records, and whatever you decide to include, one factor is clear.

If important legal, business and personal documents are organized and accessible, the handling of a crisis situation is made much easier.