Organizing your records doesn't require an elaborate setup: it can be as simple as having a designated drawer or file cabinet. When you first start to a record keeping system, it can be time consuming, but having a regular schedule and system for maintenance will actually be easier and save you time in the long run. It's a good idea to show your estate administrator your file-keeping system so they'll understand how to navigate and use it later. You can also scan or keep your important records electronically online so your estate administrator can find them anytime - and from anywhere. Rocket Lawyer provides safe file storage for all of your legal documents.
In addition to keeping copies of your documents electronically, our most important records should be kept in a bank, other financial institution, or in a home fireproof safe. Any record that would be difficult or expensive to replace should probably go in the safe, but in general these types of records include:
- Advance directives like durable powers of attorney or living wills
- Records of ownership (deeds, bonds, titles, etc.)
- Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Military papers
- Personal legal documents (divorce settlements, prenuptial agreements, property settlements)
Even though you should tell your executor where to find your documents, it's smart to leave written instructions for your survivors so they know how to access:
- Your will
- Any other estate planning documents (like living trusts, etc.)
- Your insurance policies
- Your passwords and information on other secured places
You should also set out in writing your wishes for final arrangements so your loved ones will know how to plan your memorial. If you've already talked to a funeral home or cemetery about your plans, make sure your family has access to those documents outlining your agreement with the service provider.
While it's important to keep tax, real estate, health and employment records organized for their own sake, it's also a good idea to let your executor know where to find these records for estate administration purposes.
Using Rocket Lawyer's easy online interviews to create your estate planning documents can save your time and money, and give you peace of mind. You can also keep a copy of your legal documents securely online, so your family can access them any time.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.