Simplifying Your Financial Life

Amidst the challenges of an active, if not hectic life, we tend to overlook the importance of organizing crucial family information, both financial and non-financial. Yet any person (rich, poor, young, old, single, or married) has information that will benefit those they will leave behind—information typically stored only in their heads, information that can be lost forever at death or incapacity. Organizing family information not only benefits those who have to care for an incapacitated person and those who survive, it also provides benefits in the present by facilitating easy access to crucial records and information. In short, an effective personal record-keeping system saves both time and angst now and in the future.

Here is a reminder list of important documents and information to keep handy in your files.

Family Information
- Personal background
- Details of military service
- Information on children and grandchildren 
- Summary of professional advisors 
- Location of important documents

Medical Information
- Summary of medical professionals
- Family medical history

Personal Possessions
- Inventory of household possessions
- Inventory of valuables
- Motor vehicles
- Summary of warranties
- Summary of individuals who assist with
  home maintenance

Employment and Business
- Employment information
- Company retirement plans
- Other company benefits
- Family business information

- Insurance coverage and policies
- Banking information
- Investment holdings
- Home and other real estate
- Family budget
- Financial obligations

- Final wishes
- Funeral and other final arrangements
- Estate documents
- Special bequests
- Information on care of pets
- Other thoughts and messages for surviving
  family members