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Where are your important papers?

Sometimes we feel that we're covered up with paper

all those records that we might need someday and are afraid we won't be able to find when we do need them.

And where is the best place to keep them?

It depends.

Some "records" should be carried with you, in your wallet.

These include personal identification, with your name and address and that of a relative or close friend to be notified, in case of emergency.

Your wallet should contain medical information like your blood type and any relevant conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or heart disease, along with your doctor's name and phone number.

Your insurance cards (health and automobile) should be in the wallet.

Be sure your auto insurance agent's phone number is on the card.

It is usually recommended that you carry your social security card.

Wallets sometimes get lost or stolen, so you should have relevant information from the cards that you carry on your person also recorded in a file at home.

Some records are best kept in a safety deposit box.

These would include the title and bill of sale for all automobiles currently owned; property deeds or purchase papers; contracts, notes and debts; certificates, such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, citizenship, adoption; military discharge papers; tax records; a copy of your will; social security card (you were issued two); passport; financial documents such as CDs, stock certificates; personal property inventory, perhaps accompanied by a videotape; and any legal agreements.

Also in the safety deposit box should be a list of your insurance policies (not the policies themselves).

List policy numbers, names of all insured, beneficiaries, companies, and agents.

Record payments and premiums, location of policies and claims.

For records kept at home, buy a fireproof box.

Find a good hiding place for it.

Use it to store frequently used documents that would be costly or difficult to replace.

Included here would be warranty information, insurance policies, canceled checks, recent income tax returns, living will, power of attorney, original copy of your will, burial instructions, and burial insurance policy. Keep a list here of all important information from your wallet that you would need if it were lost or stolen.

Who would manage your affairs if you became temporarily incapacitated or died?

This person should have a copy of the documents he/she would need such as power of attorney, living will, burial instructions, copy of will or names and addresses of people named in trusts, will and power of attorney.

This could be an attorney, a relative or a friend.

We have a publication "Records and Important Papers" which gives a place to record important personal, financial and household information.

Once you fill it out, your family would have no problem locating all your important papers if something happened to you.

You may pick up a free copy at our office.