Monday, May 25, 2009

Organize Essential Documents

The National Association of Professional Organizers reports that most people identify paper as their biggest organizing problem. The most daunting task is knowing where to start.

Consider dividing your paper problem into categories. Some suggested topics are current mail, bills, correspondence, essential documents. Then decide how you will separate each major category into smaller segments that will allow you to file the documents as they come in, act on them in a timely manner, then archive them for an appropriate amount of time.

Give special consideration to essential documents-those records that you might need for emergency, legal or financial consideration. These documents need to be safeguarded in a waterproof, fireproof safe that can be removed from the home if there is some type of emergency that requires evacuation. Some folks keep these documents in safety deposit boxes in banks. If that is your choice, you should consider keeping copies safeguarded at home so you can easily access them if, for some reason, the bank is not open to you. That scenario happened recently in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. With copies you can at least transact business and obtain substitute originals from the source if necessary.

Here are a few essential documents to include in your emergency file:

Documents that deal with identification like birth certificates, Social Security cards, adoption orders, citizenship papers, marriage certificates and divorce/separation papers.

Documents that deal with insurance like life and health insurance policies including dental and disability, home owners or renters insurance policies, automobile and boat insurance policies and umbrella insurance policies.

Documents that deal with personal and business finance including checking and savings account information, investment accounts, titles and deeds to real estate and other personal property such as cars and boats, stock and bond certificates, and loan agreements.

Estate planning documents including will and trust documents and durable power of attorney for health and finance.

Pulling these important documents together and filing them in a safe place is a good start to organizing paper.

Beverly & Kristen

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home