Organizing Financial Records – Elder Care and Finances Series

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This is our next blog in a series about how to plan and care for our aging loved ones. In this piece, we offer tips and advice on how to gather and organize financial records, documents and information.

Organizing Financial Records
Many of us don’t have our financial documents and information organized nor conveniently accessible in one place. Now, think about having to do that for a parent or aging loved one. It can be a big task. The goal is to get organized, so income, assets, spending, liabilities, key documents, and key advisors’ contact information are all easily accessible in one place. Doing this before really needing access due to an accident or illness is key.

To get started, we recommend a good old-fashioned 3 ring binder to store the following:

Bills and Spending Information
-Bill pay login information or copies of all bills
-All credit card statements and online login information
-Bank records of all checking and savings accounts
-Investment account information, if used for spending and bill pay
-Log in information for any online transfer services like PayPal
-Insurance premiums like long-term care, home, car, umbrella and life
-Any personal loans

Sources of Income and Assets
-Pension statements
-Social security income
-401(k) and IRA statements
-Annuity statements
-Investment Accounts
-Healthcare Savings Accounts
-Veteran benefits
-Any information on money owed to you
-If still employed, company name and workplan benefit statements
-Information on major financial assets like business equity, real estate investment accounts, charitable trusts, family limited partnerships, etc.

Advisors and Key Contact Information:
-Financial Advisors
-Insurance Professionals
-Bank Advisors

Financial Documents and Information that Should be Safely Stored
-Social Security Card
-Copy of driver’s license
-Copy of Medicare and Health insurance coverage
-Birth certificate
-Marriage license
-Divorce certificate
-Death certificate
-Mortgage documents
-Recent tax returns
-Car titles
-Stock or bond certificates
-Information about any pre-paid funeral or cemetery purchases
-Estate planning documents (which we will go into more detail in a later article)
-Computer passwords
-Social media passwords and log in information
-Petcare information

We recommend storing the binder and other key documents in a fireproof box or safety deposit box. From there, you may also choose to utilize a secure online resource but having paper copies is great for backup and obviously can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Knowing this information is organized and stored will not only provide peace of mind but can also save countless hours of trying to track down records and potentially lost accounts and money.

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