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Where Should I Keep Important Papers?

Let’s face it, when it comes to storing important financial documents, a shoe box under your bed doesn’t really cut it.

Where you store estate planning documents and digital assets matters. So does whether your heirs will have access to them.

CNBC’s recent article, “Here are the best ways to secure important financial documents,” says that estate planning documents are very important, and you must make sure you keep them safely secured. The same is true about digital assets, passwords and social media accounts.

Some states have public will registries, and there are also private will registry companies.  While estate planning documents don’t need to be registered, it may be a good idea. However, registering documents may not be sufficient.

It is important that your family knows about your wills and other documents, and where to locate them. Don’t forget about your digital assets, since these assets can be bequeathed, just like bank and investment accounts.

Make multiple copies of information to protect yourself against loss.

Here are some action steps to take:

  • Buy a multifunction scanner and use it when you get a new important document;
  • Back up your digital documents on a thumb drive or a secured digital card that you can easily remove from your device. Make a copy of that storage device and put it somewhere offsite;
  • Create a cloud storage account with Google, Apple, Dropbox, or Box, specifically for backing up your documents;
  • Secure the data on your mobile devices and be careful with your computer, tablet and smartphone. Keep sensitive data on external storage or in the cloud;
  • Choose an individual to look after your social media. Companies have their own policies for when an owner passes away; and
  • Purchase a special password organizer book to keep these organized. You can get a password manager program that generates and maintains strong passwords.

Reference: CNBC (August 19, 2019) “Here are the best ways to secure important financial documents”


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