Are you able to locate insurance contracts, wills, and other important personal records quickly and easily? With this simple document locator system, you no longer need to wonder where to file a paper or where to find it.
Most people have no idea where to start searching for their important records. They usually keep them scattered in various locations – tax records in a file cabinet, savings bonds in a home safe, wills at an attorney’s office, some contracts or deeds in a bank safe deposit box.
There’s a reason many people do not have an organized recordkeeping system: Organizing your records is stressful and confusing.
The Document Locator System is effective because it takes away that stress and confusion. This simple recordkeeping system provides an easy way to keep track of your important personal (not business) records, keeping them organized and available. You will not miss out on a tax deduction because you did not keep the necessary receipt. More importantly, the document locator system will help a spouse or executor locate your documents in case of death or disability.
Set up tabbed sections in your files with the following captions (customizing sections as appropriate to your particular situation):
File the documents and other records listed in Column 1 in the file sections recommended in Column 2 of the Document Locator. Where the original or a copy is filed elsewhere, note this location in Column 3 of the Document Locator. You can also use Column 3 for any notes regarding the document (such as Passport – “Renew by October 12, 2022” or IRA – “Take first distribution by December 31, 2022”). Where your filing system suggests a file section other than that recommended in Column 2, just substitute your location for the recommended one. For items other than those named here, use the blank spaces at the end of the Locator.
This Document Locator is shown at the end of this Financial Guide.
Tip: Put a photocopy of the Document Locator, which will contain the locations of all your important documents, in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box.
Tip: In addition to the Document Locator System, prepare a post-mortem letter to a spouse or executor. This is also an essential part of helping your heirs and family members get your affairs in order in the event of death or disability. The purpose of such a letter is to provide them with the information needed to locate records or assets. This will prevent erosion of your estate by unnecessary taxes, unfounded claims, or just plain loss of assets.
The key is to develop and follow some type of recordkeeping system, not necessarily the one recommended here. If you have any questions, contact your financial advisor.
Tip: Cull your records every so often. By getting rid of the papers you no longer need, you minimize the ever-encroaching mountains of paper we all have to handle.
Certain documents, records, and other information should be easily locatable in an emergency. These include (1) your personal records, (2) a list of your assets, (3) your estate planning records, and (4) your financial records.
In most cases, the reason these documents are needed is self-explanatory.
Note: Include cash, realty, investments, IRAs, retirement plan benefits, life insurance policies, interests in partnerships or other business entities, jewelry and other luxury items, automobiles, boats, antiques, coin collections, collectibles, art objects, and debts owed to you by others.
|DOCUMENT||WHERE TO FILE||OTHER LOCATION/NOTES|
|Adoption records||Important Personal and/or Children|
|Address book||Important Personal|
|Alimony records||Tax Records|
|Apartment – records for||Residences|
|Appliances – receipts, warranties, and contracts for||Major Assets|
|Appraisals of assets||Major Assets|
|Assets – list of||Major Assets|
|Attorney||Professionals and/or Estate Planning|
|Auto insurance||Vehicles and/or Insurance|
|Auto loans||Credit and Loans|
|Auto mileage logs||Tax Records|
|Bank account statements||Banking|
|Bills of sale||Major Assets|
|Birth certificates||Important Personal and/or Children|
|Broker account statements||Investments|
|Canceled checks – general||Banking|
|Canceled checks – insurance||Insurance|
|Canceled checks – tax related||Tax Records|
|Casualty loss records||Insurance|
|CD||Banking and/or Investments|
|Cemetery plot||Estate Planning|
|Charitable gifts||Tax Records|
|Checking account statements||Banking|
|Child support papers||Important Personal and/or Children|
|Claims – insurance||Insurance|
|Coin collection||Major Assets|
|Confirmation slips – from broker||Investments|
|Credit cards – list of||Credit and Loans|
|Credit card statements||Credit and Loans|
|Credit report – from credit reporting agency||Credit and Loans|
|Credit union papers||Banking and/or Credit and Loans|
|Custody agreement||Important Personal and/or Children|
|Day care records||Children|
|Death certificate||Important Personal|
|Debts owed to you||Investments|
|Debts you owe||Credit and Loans|
|Deeds to homes||Residences|
|Dividends – records of||Investments|
|Divorce decree||Important Personal|
|Dues – professional or union||Tax Records|
|Employee benefits – description of||Employment|
|Employers – list of||Employment|
|Equipment – business use of||Tax Records|
|Equipment – warranties for||Major Assets|
|Fees – deductible||Tax Records|
|Financial statement – your personal||Credit and Loans|
|Forms – tax||Tax Records|
|Funeral arrangements||Estate Planning|
|Gifts – taxable||Tax Records|
|Government employers – list of||Employment|
|Home – contents of, photographic records||Insurance|
|Home office||Tax Records|
|Inherited property – record of basis||Residences|
|Interest – record of||Residences and/or Tax Records|
|K-1 Forms||Tax Records|
|Safe deposit box keys||Banking|
|Lawyers||Professionals and/or Estate Planning|
|Lease – home||Residences|
|License – driver’s||Vehicles|
|Life insurance policies||Insurance|
|Limited partnership documents||Investments|
|List of assets||Major Assets|
|List of automobiles||Vehicles|
|List of bank accounts||Banking|
|List of brokerage accounts||Investments|
|List of children’s schools||Children|
|List of credit cards||Credit and Loans|
|List of debts||Credit and Loans|
|List of employers – government and private||Employers|
|List of home improvements||Residences|
|List of life insurance policies||Insurance|
|List of safe deposit boxes||Banking|
|Living will||Important Personal|
|Loans – list of||Credit and Loans|
|Maintenance of appliances||Major Assets|
|Marriage certificate||Important Personal|
|Medical expenses||Tax Records|
|Mileage logs – expenses||Tax Records|
|Military discharge||Important Personal|
|Mortgage payments and yearly statement||Residence and/or Tax Records|
|Moving expense||Tax Records|
|Naturalization papers||Important Personal|
|Owner’s manuals||Vehicles and/or Major Assets|
|Partnership statements||Tax Records|
|Pension benefits – description||Employment|
|Photos of family members||Important Personal|
|Photos of home contents||Insurance|
|Properties owned – list of||Residences|
|Property damage – records||Insurance|
|Real estate owned||Residences|
|Real estate taxes||Residences and/or Tax Records|
|Rent – records of||Residences|
|Residence closing – records of||Residences|
|Safe deposit boxes||Banking|
|Schools – list of||Children|
|Service – military||Employment and/or Important Personal|
|Social Security numbers||Important Personal|
|Tax returns and forms||Tax Records|
|Titles to vehicles||Vehicles|
|Travel expenses||Tax Records|
|Trust documents||Estate Planning|
|W-2 forms||Tax Records|
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