What documents should I keep?
Do you know you have documents you should always hold on to? Everyone does. Examples are birth certificates, social security cards, military discharge and citizenship papers. You can find a list of Forever Documents here. Are you married? If so, your original marriage certificate is a forever document. Keep this securely along with your will and estate documents. Are you a parent or guardian? Guardianship documents and adoption papers are forever documents. Did you purchase a home and take out a Homestead Act? Then store this paperwork securely along with deeds to your property and mortgage discharge notices. Do you have a passport? Store your passport with your Forever Documents. Do not “tuck” this in a drawer or desk somewhere! Your passport is a critical legal document and is very difficult and expensive to replace when lost or misplaced. Essentially, forever documents are records that provide proof of citizenship, critical personal information and legal standing.
How should I organize my Forever Documents?
Forever documents should be stored separately from your Working Documents – read more about Working Documents here. I recommend that you store Forever Documents in a fire safe box. You need to access Forever Documents rarely, think once or twice a year. So unlike Working Documents which you access on a weekly or monthly basis, you “touch” Forever Documents very infrequently. While some clients like the safety and security of a bank safe deposit box, this is not always ideal. The downside of using a bank safe deposit box is limited access to the box due to bank hours, weekends, holidays, etc. Therefore, I recommend that clients invest in a quality, fire safe box which price at around $100. Store your box in an accessible but not visible spot.
However you decide to store your Forever Documents, gather them together and store them securely today. No one wants to be searching for a social security card or birth certificate in a rush. Keep your Forever Documents stored securely and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and aggravation.