Ensure the safety of important personal documents before your death

Throughout your life, you’ve probably saved dozens of boxes that contained important information.  Whether financial statements for tax purposes or other personal records, you surely thought, one day, they’ll be useful.

It’s better to be safe, rather than sorry, in terms of keeping paperwork.  However, problems can arise when you need immediate access to a specific document in the event of an emergency.

Although it may not seem like such a big deal now since you can always reorganize your files later on, what would happen if you unexpectedly passed away without first doing this? Your spouse or child would most likely be able to find this information so the funeral could be properly planned.  However, if your next of kin is a sibling, niece, nephew or cousin, he or she may not know the first place to begin the search.  In order to avoid future frustration for your family, it’s important to organize your files now. 

Know What to Keeppersonal documents

If you don’t know where to begin, it may seem like anything you’ve collected in your life that contains a name or address should be kept permanently. Yet, this isn’t always the case since most junk mail or useless paperwork can simply be shredded.

The essential documents that identify who you are as a person, such as a social security card, birth certificate and passport, need to be kept – as well as insurance, financial, health and/or military records, such as a DD Form 214 discharge paper.

In addition, contact information for your employer and any living relatives should be stored along with your will, as it may have an influence on your final wishes.

Choose the Right Storage Space

In an ideal world, you’d want to have all of these vital documents stored in a fire resistant safe so that if anything happened to your home, the information would be kept intact.

If a small safe isn’t a feasible option for you, it’s important to find a storage solution that works – regardless if it’s a shoebox under the bed or a manila envelope in a desk drawer.  Just be sure to inform your next of kin where it’s located.

Back it Up

In the old days, backing up a physical file just meant that you had another copy in case something happened to the original. Now, with cloud-based storage, you’re able to ensure that you never lose vital personal information that your family will need after you die.

If you’re tech-savvy or know someone who is, consider having the aforementioned paperwork scanned to a computer and then hosted on a site like Google Drive. Once it’s uploaded, you’ll be able to update it and share it with family members with one click.

This form of file backup technology is free, so why not take advantage of it?

For more tips to help with advanced funeral planning, or to speak with one of our licensed funeral directors, call Beinhauer Funeral Home & Cremation Service at 724-941-3211.