How often do you find yourself spending countless hours searching for your birth or marriage certificate, financial or medical power of attorney, and other important documents? If you have all your documents in order and can easily locate them without even batting an eyelash, then congratulations! You are probably one of the few people who recognize the importance of organizing your personal documents. Unfortunately, most people do not.
There are a lot of reasons why you may need to. For starters, it can help you save time and effort (no more searching for lost or misplaced documents). It can also help you be prepared if anything comes up, avoid unnecessary losses, and help your family handle your affairs in case of emergency or after your death.
As a rule, you need to keep your vital records (birth certificates, marriage licences, divorce decrees, death certificates, adoption certificates, citizenship and immigration papers, military enrolment and discharge papers, criminal records and pardons, passports, and social security number) as long as you are alive since these documents prove that you exist and indicate your status.
In the same manner, you should also keep legal documents (contractual agreements between you and someone else and/or documents granting specific rights for someone to act on your behalf), including wills, powers of attorney, living wills, custody agreements, and spousal support agreements. However, unlike vital documents, certain legal documents can be destroyed when superseded.
To make things easier for you, use this Legal Information Worksheet as a guide in organizing your legal documents.
Get a creative road map for organizing your time, space and finances by reading our book, My Journey to an Organized Life. You may also call us at 410-329-3300(MD) or at 770-733-1957 (GA) or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. if you need help organizing your personal and professional life. You can count on us to eliminate clutter and disorganization in your life.