How to Organize Personal Records

January 1, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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A new year. New resolutions. New thoughts … but the same old unorganized life? “Oh, if I could just get organized!” You can!

Organization does not have to be a foreign language to you. If you like puzzles or seeing loose ends come together, organization can be a rewarding activity. One organizational tip is to get the adult members of your family to create a Personal Records Management solution.

To help give you confidence as you begin organizing, you will find an unusual list below that will be great to have easily accessible. A personal executor may need to have access to the following at a moment’s notice:

  • All Bank account information and the phone number of the bank. Also list where hard copy checks are kept.
  • A Birth certificate … and if yours has been misplaced it is simple to order an official copy.
  • Brokerage account numbers and their contact info. If you have Web site account information and passwords, most of these accounts can easily be accessed online.
  • Computer access and Web site passwords are very important for your executor to have in order to close down any open online e-mail services, subscriptions, online bank accounts, etc.
  • Provide the contact information of professionals who have assisted the family and who the executor may need to contact.
  • Provide your executor with all personal health records. You might not realize it, but this information is important to your family’s future generations. If you have children who are minors, take the time now to organize their personal health records.
  • It could be quite awkward for your executor to trip off your alarm or not know how it works should you not be around, so add to your list your home alarm code and instructions.
  • Make sure life and health insurance policies can be easily located along with policy numbers and any agent or company.
  • Military discharge papers will be required if military benefits are due to your beneficiaries.
  • If you are an organ donor, without proper documentation, your wishes will not be honored.
  • If you have one, or many safe deposit boxes, make sure you leave clear instructions as to where they are, the location of the keys, and how the executor can access them.
  • Of the utmost importance for identification and benefit claims – not just your Social Security number and card, but the SS number of your beneficiaries, including minor children.
  • If you have created any type of trust your executor will need to be able to locate and access all of the governing trust documents.

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