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Paper Organization Challenge – Day 8: Vital Documents

Paper Organization Vital Documents

Before we move forward with the next step in our Paper Organization Challenge, let’s recap our progress (If you’re a new reader, no worries … there is plenty of time to catch up). Over the last 7 days we have:

  • Gathered all loose paper into one spot,
  • Sorted this paper into broad categories,
  • Pulled out the paper that needs our immediate attention and created Action Files,
  • Purged papers we no longer need, and
  • Boxed up paper we think we no longer need, but are just not comfortable letting go quite yet, and created an “expiration date.”

Whew! Now it’s time to begin organizing and filing away all the remaining paper that truly does belong in our life. We’re going to start with your most important papers, also called Vital Documents. There are a number of ways and locations you can physically store these documents (fire proof box, safety deposit box, etc.) What’s most important is that your vital documents (which are difficult or impossible to replace) are secure, protected from fire or water damage and can easily be accessed in case of an emergency. One option is to keep a copy of these documents in a portable container within in your home for easy access, with the originals kept in a safety deposit box at your bank. Note: Keep in mind, however, the logistics of locking up an original Passport or other document that you may need over a weekend when the bank is closed (yes, it’s happened)!

Vital Documents include:

  • Appraisals
  • Birth and/or Adoption Records
  • Copies of the contents of your wallet
  • Citizenship papers
  • Death Certificates and all Probate documents
  • Deeds
  • Divorce Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Military Records
  • Passports
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Social Security cards
  • Titles (auto, boat, etc.)
  • Trust Documents
  • Wills 

Your Action Step: Gather up your vital documents, make copies and get them into a safe, protected spot.

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