Organize and protect your important documents. Items to keep at home, in a secure place that’s easy for you to get to, may include your bank and brokerage statements, insurance policies, Social Security and company pension records, and other personal and financial papers you or your family might need on short notice. If caregivers or others regularly visit you, make sure that your checkbooks, credit cards and other financial records are protected.
A safe deposit box is best for storing documents or valuables that could be difficult or impossible to replace and that you probably won’t need access to on a night, weekend or holiday. Good candidates include originals of birth certificates, property deeds and car titles. Think twice before using a safe deposit box for an original of a will or power of attorney because it may not be possible for your loved ones to access them quickly if you become incapacitated or pass away. For guidance on where to store these documents, check with an attorney about what is required or recommended based on state law.
Regardless of where you keep important documents, seal them in airtight and waterproof plastic bags or containers to prevent water damage. In case of a natural disaster or a fire, you may want to prepare one or more emergency evacuation bags with essential financial items and documents, such as some cash and checks, copies of your credit cards and identification cards, and a key to your safe deposit box. As many consumers get older, they often face issues such as how to maintain their lifestyle and pay for medical expenses on a fixed income for years into the future.
For the next 14 weeks, we will offer a Quick Tip for Protecting Your Finances. Hope you have enjoyed Week #2, courtesy of Bath State Bank and the FDIC.