18 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

25 Documents You Need to Put in One Place

I have a filing system in my home office that in practice worked something like this: Need document, look for it in my files and realize it’s not in my files, look for it in a pile and if it’s not in that pile, move on to another pile. I would always find it in “a” pile, but there was no guarantee that my life insurance policy will be in the file labeled “life insurance.”

As long as I could get my hands on it though, it didn’t matter much to me that I needed to do a little digging; that is until my grandmother died last month and in helping my mother wade through piles of documents trying to decipher between the vital and the not-so-important I realized that, God forbid my husband and I were in a situation where either of us had to make a decision on the other’s behalf, neither of us would know where to begin.

We may not like thinking about what would happen in the event that we were faced with the scenario, but like it or not, emergency scenarios are a reality that many couples face. In case of an emergency, two things that you need to know are:

1) That you have everything you need in one place and…
2) That your spouse knows that place and how to get into it

Today’s Tuesday Timesaver challenge is to agree on a place that you will house all of your vital information and begin the process of getting them into one place. If you have things spread out all over the place, you may want to concentrate on one category a day over the next week so that the task doesn’t become overwhelming.

Here is a list of 25 documents you need to put in one place, originally compiled and published in Saabira Chaudhuri’s 7/2/20011 article in the Wall Street Journal .

25 Docsuments You need to Put in One Place:


  • Will
  • Letter of Instruction
  • Trust Documents

Marriage and Divorce

  • Marriage License
  • Divorce Papers

Health Care Confidential

  • Personals and Family Medical History
  • Durable Health-Care Power of Attorney
  • Authorization to Release Healthcare Information
  • Living Will
  • Do-not-resuscitate Order

Proof of Ownership

  • Housing, Land and Cemetery Deeds
  • Escrow Mortgage Accounts
  • Proof of Loans Made and Debts Owed
  • Vehicle Titles
  • Stock Certificates, Savings Bonds and Brokerage Accounts
  • Partnership and Corporate Operating Agreements
  • Tax Returns

Life Insurance and Retirement

  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Individual Retirement Accounts
  • 401k, 403b Accounts
  • Pension Documents
  • Annuity Contracts

Bank Accounts

  • List of Bank Accounts
  • List of All User Names and Passwords
  • List of Safe Deposit Boxes
Do you have all of your important files in one place? Is there anything you can add to this list?



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