Saturday, October 20, 2007

Financial Document Organization

As I've brought up several times in my blog .. . . I've not been paying attention to my finances and/or maintaining any sort of order, protection, or understanding of my financial picture:

However, that's changing! A large part of the change I am needing to make is making sure that I know what I need to know to be more financially responsible.

One area of this transformation has to do with bringing up to date, and/or maintaining current documentation of all areas that pertain to my financial picture. Based on an outline of document needs that has been outlined by Suze Orman, these are the documents I am currently working on bringing up to date, and organizing in one contained, financial packet.

  • Up to date copies of my three credit reports
  • Photocopies of active credit cards, front and back with 800 service # visible.
  • Copies of letters closing old credit cards.
  • Birth Certificates
  • Copy of Driver's Licenses
  • Passports
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Child Support Documents
  • Deeds
  • Promissory Notes
  • Home owner's Insurance
  • Co-ownership Property Agreement
  • Fire Insurance
  • Copy of Survey
  • Copy of Title Policy
  • Appraisals/Evaluations of valuable items (jewelry, artwork, etc.)
  • Auto Titles and/or Leases
  • Auto Insurance Policies
  • Auto Loan Documents
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Health Insurance Card (Copy) Benefits Description
  • Long term care policy (we don't own this yet, but, need to discuss purchasing. Having watched my mother this is not something we should be without. )
  • Long term disability policy
  • Annual Social Security statement (supposed to compare W-2's to statement)
  • Social Security Card/s
  • Photocopies of spouses and children's Social Security Cards
  • Pension plan summary description, annual plan statement & annual individual pension benefit statemtnt.
  • Money purchase/profit-sharing plan documents
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Retirement account Withdrawals
  • Treasuries/Series I/Series EE/Notes
  • Stock Certificates
  • CD's
  • Annuity Contracts
  • Stock Option Grant Agreements
  • Asset List
  • Copies of All Investment account applications and agreements
  • Advanced directive and durable power of attorney for health care
  • Financial durable power of attorney
  • Will
  • Pour over will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Contracts of funeral or memorial arrangements
  • Documentation of prepaid fees to cemetery and/or funeral home
  • Tax returns for past 3 years
  • Documentation of home-improvement records
  • Documentation of medical expenses
  • Documentation of donations to charities
  • Documentation of investment expenses
  • Documentation of employee business travel & entertainment
  • Documentation of higher education expenses
  • Documentation of student loan interest payments
  • Documentation of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, closing costs.
Some of these documents I have. . . .somewhere. Others of these documents I need, but don't have. Many of these documents are things that I need to take care of in order to have an understanding of what is happening now and in the future. And, so importantly, several of these documents are things I need to initiate to protect my spouse, family, and myself should anything happen to either my husband or I.

I'm so happy to be able to finally say, I have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, an Advanced Health Care Directive, and Durable Power of Attorney for Finance for both my husband and I. I recently filled out and ordered these estate planning documents on line at for $34 and then went to Michigan 1st credit union and had them notorized.

Although being financially responsible feels like an enormous project, I am committing, in writing, that I will continue to take responsibility for myself and my finances.

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