Important Document Cheat Sheet: Five Tips To Get You Started

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Get organized quick to avoid a hoarder scenario.

Even in the digital age, hard copies of important documents still play an important part. Here are five things to become a master paper wrangler.

1.  Remember Why You Need To Do It

Imagine the stress your kid, spouse or best friend would feel while digging through boxes or filing cabinets to understand and settle all your financial issues? By keeping things organized you can make it easier for them to claim benefits, get through the probate and close bank accounts.

2. Estate Planning, Medical Papers and Professional Contacts

Estate includes your Will, Power of Attorney and Trusts. Medical includes your Advance Directive (which includes your Living Will and Health Care Proxy), DNR as well as well as contact info for lawyers, accountants, and insurance agents.

3. Financial, Legal and Professional

Real fast rundown: Insurance policies, bank accounts, credit cards, tax returns, mortgage info, deeds, birth certificate, Social Security card as well as a list of utilities (power company, phone/internet/TV provider) and and services (housekeeper, electrician, plumber). [Helpful Checklist: Documents To Organize And Share]

4. Let’s Get Digital

Gather password information for all of your online accounts--email, online banking and finance, social media--as well as for physical items--banking PIN number, computer, cell phone, safe deposit boxes, and combinations to locks or safes. Also, don’t forget to let a person you trust know where this info is. [Helpful Resource: How To Close Online Accounts And Services When Someone Dies]

5. If You’re Still Not Convinced, Here’s More Reasons To Get Things Together

You can avoid unnecessary charges from ongoing subscriptions, protection from identity theft or fraud, and allow your family to distribute, sell, or donate any personal items that weren’t included in the Will. Plus, your family and friends will be going through a tough time dealing with losing you and this can make it a tiny bit more manageable.

Deep Dive: All You Need To Know About Organizing Important Documents

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