Every day we are inundated with so many files, documents, and receipts we can’t possibly store them all. Though many can be tossed away, some of these records are vitally important and can be the difference between receiving care and being turned away. If you’re unable to sort through a lifetime’s stock of papers, reach out to a close friend or family member and ask them for help filing things away or tracking them down.
We’ve compiled a list of the most vital documents to store, which ones to have on hand, and which ones to stay safely tucked away.
The most important thing to remember? Always make sure someone close to you knows where all your files actually are.
Health Care Documentation. This includes a multitude of records:
While you may remember some of this information by heart, many of these files have complex and lengthy numbers or IDs that are hard to keep track of. It’s safest to put these items in a specific folder or binder where they can be easily reached.
Financial Records. The list here could be staggering, but there are a few that stand out:
These are most helpful for those who might need to look after you at some point. If you’re ever in a situation where someone trusted will be looking to make sure your wishes are upheld, you’ll want the information in the right hands. Make sure this person, whether lawyer, child, or loved one, knows where the documents are, and more importantly, make sure you trust them with highly classified information. This isn’t just for emergencies. These documents could be the difference between you getting (or not getting) the benefits you need and deserve.
Personal Records. These documents could include any of the following:
You may keep some of these files on your person, like a driver’s license or passport. However, it’s a good idea to keep a ready-to-go packet of these documents should you ever need to renew your license, open a bank account, or provide information for medical purposes.
Preserving documents is a fast task that will help you immensely in the long run. If organizing isn’t your strong suit, don’t be afraid to ask for help, it will likely bring you closer to a child or grandchild who will enjoy looking at your memories with you. If you’re already on top of things and have your ducks in a row, all you need to do is confirm the location with your trusted person. Make sure it’s in a secure but easily accessible place. You can also create a list of notable items and sites for each if they’re separate.