There are some records you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life. These documents reflect major life events that you’ll need for future reference, either for identification purposes, proof of name change, or proof of a loved one’s passing. Here are the most important ones to keep safely tucked away.
Birth and Death Certificates
Birth and death certificates are vitally important to keep forever. Birth certificates help prove your identity while death certificates help when claiming a loved one’s assets and estate. An original or certified birth certificate appears at many life stages; beginning as early as school registration through later life stages when applying for a driver’s license. For every form of identification, from REAL IDs to passport application, you’ll need a copy of your birth certificate to prove your birth date, your legal name, and parental relation.
Once a loved one passes away, their death certificate not only declares their cause of death, it will allow an executor to close out accounts and claim their estate assets including pensions, insurance, or other benefits.
Marriage License and Certificate
If you marry, keeping a copy of your marriage license or certificate helps you in the long run. This is especially important if you had a destination wedding either out of state or out of the country. Some documents from abroad are hard to replace once you’ve returned home or later in life. Presenting these documents is part of the name change request process with services of the Social Security Administration, IRS, and other state agencies like the DMV or Department of Revenue.
A marriage license is required for names or claims on bank accounts, frequent flier accounts, and even credit. These certificates also prove your current or past marital status with various types of insurance, including health benefits, where a spouse can (and should) be added.
If you’ve gone through a divorce, never throw out your divorce decree. You’ll need this document to prove (again) your name change, if relevant, or to prove you are single if you wish to get remarried. This decree not only declares you are no longer legally married, but it also proves the exact date of the dissolution of your marriage.
Child Custody Record
Always keep a record of your child custody documents to avoid any issues with custody in the future. These papers are usually bound with your divorce decree, but not always, especially in cases when a child’s parents were never married. These records prove you are the custodial parent and have rights to the care and wellbeing of your child. Not only that, they can also win you rights to child support from the non-custodial parent.
If you’ve adopted a child, be sure to keep all records pertaining to your adoption. These documents recognize you as the legal parent and guardian of your child. Once adoptions are final, the child is considered your son or daughter, and all records from the court are sealed. It may so happen that later in life your child will need these records for themselves, so keep them in a safe place.
Keep a Grab and Go Box
In case of emergencies, it’s a good idea to keep these records tucked away in a “grab and go” box or folder. For many of these documents, you’ll need the originals and not copies, so keeping them safe in one place is the smart thing to do. You’ll rest easy knowing you can easily take them with you should the need ever arise.
At Organized Instincts, our seasoned team of daily money managers will help you know what certificates, documents, and decrees you’ll need to keep safe forever. For a full list of important life documents to put in your grab and go box, schedule a free consultation today.