Document Locator System: A Handy Aid For Keeping Track of Your Records

Are you able to locate insurance contracts, wills, and other important personal records quickly and easily? With this simple document locator system, you no longer need to wonder where to file a paper or where to find it.Table of ContentsThe Document Locator SystemSet Up Tabbed SectionsFile The DocumentsDocuments You Should Be Able To Locate EasilyWhere To File What The Document Locator SystemMost people have no idea where to start searching for their important records. They usually keep them scattered in various locations – tax records in a file cabinet, savings bonds in a home safe, wills at an attorney’s office, some contracts or deeds in a bank safe deposit box.There’s a reason many people do not have an organized recordkeeping system: Organizing your records is stressful and confusing.The Document Locator System is effective because it takes away that stress and confusion. This simple recordkeeping system provides an easy way to keep track of your important personal (not business) records, keeping them organized and available. You will not miss out on a tax deduction because you did not keep the necessary receipt. More importantly, the document locator system will help a spouse or executor locate your documents in case of death or disability.Back To TopSet Up Tabbed SectionsSet up tabbed sections in your files with the following captions (customizing sections as appropriate to your particular situation):BankingChildrenCredit and LoansEmploymentEstate Planning [including wills and post-mortem matters]Important PersonalInsuranceInvestmentsMajor AssetsProfessional ResidencesTax RecordsVehicles [including boats]Back To TopFile the DocumentsFile the documents and other records listed in Column 1 in the file sections recommended in Column 2 of the Document Locator. Where the original or a copy is filed elsewhere, note this location in Column 3 of the Document Locator. You can also use Column 3 for any notes regarding the document (such as Passport – “Renew by October 12, 2022” or IRA – “Take first distribution by December 31, 2022”). Where your filing system suggests a file section other than that recommended in Column 2, just substitute your location for the recommended one. For items other than those named here, use the blank spaces at the end of the Locator.This Document Locator is shown at the end of this Financial Guide.Put a photocopy of the Document Locator, which will contain the locations of all your important documents, in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box.In addition to the Document Locator System, prepare a post-mortem letter to a spouse or executor. This is also an essential part of helping your heirs and family members get your affairs in order in the event of death or disability. The purpose of such a letter is to provide them with the information needed to locate records or assets. This will prevent erosion of your estate by unnecessary taxes, unfounded claims, or just plain loss of assets.The key is to develop and follow some type of recordkeeping system, not necessarily the one recommended here. If you have any questions, contact your financial advisor.Cull your records every so often. By getting rid of the papers you no longer need, you minimize the ever-encroaching mountains of paper we all have to handle.Back To TopDocuments You Should Be Able To Locate EasilyCertain documents, records, and other information should be easily locatable in an emergency. These include (1) your personal records, (2) a list of your assets, (3) your estate planning records, and (4) your financial records.Personal RecordsBirth certificates of family membersDeath certificates of deceased family membersMarriage licenseDivorce decree and custody agreement (if divorced)Passports (updated)Social Security numbers for family membersThe names and addresses of family members, close relatives, and any persons mentioned in a willMilitary recordsList of previous employersList of government employersMedical records and health insurance cards for family membersIn most cases, the reason these documents are needed is self-explanatory.List of Your AssetsDescription of all major assets that you own separately or jointly with your spouse or other person, together with the approximate values and location of deeds, titles, stock certificates, or other evidence of ownership.Include cash, realty, investments, IRAs, retirement plan benefits, life insurance policies, interests in partnerships or other business entities, jewelry and other luxury items, automobiles, boats, antiques, coin collections, collectibles, art objects, and debts owed to you by others.Appraisals of valuable itemsDescription of the approximate amounts of pension, military, and/or other benefits you or your spouse may be entitled to on retirement or deathInsurance policies (including group life, individual life, health, casualty, auto, etc.) and identity and phone numbers of insurance agentsEstate Planning RecordsThe whereabouts of your will and codicils, along with the name and address of the attorney who prepared themTitle to cemetery plot or other burial arrangementPost-mortem letter to spouse or family members, to be opened after your deathLiving will or other directions in case of disabilityFinancial and Other RecordsLocation of all safe deposit boxes, keys, and passwordsImportant canceled checksThe names and addresses of your CPA, attorney, and any other professionals concerned with your financial affairsPhotographic or video record of house and its contents (for homeowners’ insurance purposes)One statement for each bank account, IRA, mutual fund, broker, or other account you own, along with the name and telephone number of the primary banker, broker, or other contact person for each accountBrokers’ confirmation slips for purchasesA statement or other reference for any bank account that is not in your nameOne statement or payment stub for each credit card, line of credit, or outstanding loanIncome tax returns for at least six prior years (including all supporting records for the past six years), and all prior gift tax returnsRecords showing the original cost of any realty owned, cost of all improvements that can be added to tax basis, and depreciation taken (for business or rental property)Bills of sale or receipts for major itemsEquipment and appliance manuals and warranty informationBack To TopWhere to File WhatDocument LocatorDOCUMENTWHERE TO FILEOTHER LOCATION/NOTESAccident reportsInsurance Adoption recordsImportant Personal and/or Children AccountantProfessionals Address bookImportant Personal Alimony recordsTax Records Apartment – records forResidences AnnuityInvestments AntiquesMajor Assets Appliances – receipts, warranties, and contracts forMajor Assets Appraisals of assetsMajor Assets Assets – list ofMajor Assets AttorneyProfessionals and/or Estate Planning Auto insuranceVehicles and/or Insurance Auto loansCredit and Loans Auto mileage logsTax Records Automobile titleVehicles Bank account statementsBanking Bills of saleMajor Assets Birth certificatesImportant Personal and/or Children Boat insuranceInsurance Boat recordsVehicles Broker account statementsInvestments Business interestsInvestments Canceled checks – generalBanking Canceled checks – insuranceInsurance Canceled checks – tax relatedTax Records Casualty loss recordsInsurance CDBanking and/or Investments Cemetery plotEstate Planning Charitable giftsTax Records Checking account statementsBanking Child support papersImportant Personal and/or Children Claims – insuranceInsurance Coin collectionMajor Assets CollectionsMajor Assets Confirmation slips – from brokerInvestments CPAProfessionals Credit cards – list ofCredit and Loans Credit card statementsCredit and Loans Credit report – from credit reporting agencyCredit and Loans Credit union papersBanking and/or Credit and Loans Custody agreementImportant Personal and/or Children Day care recordsChildren Death benefitsEmployment Death certificateImportant Personal Debts owed to youInvestments Debts you oweCredit and Loans Deeds to homesResidences Disability insuranceInsurance Dividends – records ofInvestments Divorce decreeImportant Personal DoctorsProfessionals Dues – professional or unionTax Records Employee benefits – description ofEmployment Employers – list ofEmployment Equipment – business use ofTax Records Equipment – warranties forMajor Assets ExpensesTax Records Fees – deductibleTax Records Financial statement – your personalCredit and Loans Forms – taxTax Records Funeral arrangementsEstate Planning FursMajor Assets Gifts – taxableTax Records Government employers – list ofEmployment Health insuranceInsurance Home – contents of, photographic recordsInsurance Home officeTax Records Home improvementsResidences Inherited property – record of basisResidences Insurance policiesInsurance Interest – record ofResidences and/or Tax Records IRABanking JewelryMajor Assets K-1 FormsTax Records Safe deposit box keysBanking LawyersProfessionals and/or Estate Planning Lease – homeResidences License – driver’sVehicles Life insurance policiesInsurance Limited partnership documentsInvestments List of assetsMajor Assets List of automobilesVehicles List of bank accountsBanking List of brokerage accountsInvestments List of children’s schoolsChildren List of credit cardsCredit and Loans List of debtsCredit and Loans List of employers – government and privateEmployers List of home improvementsResidences List of life insurance policiesInsurance List of safe deposit boxesBanking Living willImportant Personal Loans – list ofCredit and Loans Maintenance of appliancesMajor Assets Marriage certificateImportant Personal Medical expensesTax Records Medical professionalsProfessionals Mileage logs – expensesTax Records Military dischargeImportant Personal Military employersEmployment Mortgage noteResidences Mortgage payments and yearly statementResidence and/or Tax Records Moving expenseTax Records Mutual fundsInvestments Naturalization papersImportant Personal Owner’s manualsVehicles and/or Major Assets Partnership statementsTax Records PassportsImportant Personal Paycheck stubsEmployment PetsImportant Personal Pension benefits – descriptionEmployment Photos of family membersImportant Personal Photos of home contentsInsurance Properties owned – list ofResidences Property damage – recordsInsurance ProspectusesInvestments Real estate ownedResidences Real estate taxesResidences and/or Tax Records RegistrationVehicles Rent – records ofResidences Residence closing – records ofResidences Retirement accountsInvestments Safe deposit boxesBanking Savings accountsBanking Schools – list ofChildren Service – militaryEmployment and/or Important Personal Social Security numbersImportant Personal Stock certificatesInvestments Survivors’ benefits-descriptionsEmployment Tax returns and formsTax Records Traffic ticketsVehicles Titles to vehiclesVehicles Travel expensesTax Records Trust documentsEstate Planning Unemployment compensationEmployment Vacation homeResidences W-2 formsTax Records WarrantiesMajor Assets WillsEstate Planning Back To TopAlso See…Saving Money: 10 Major Ways To Increase Your Nest Egg
Recordkeeping Guide: How Long You Should Retain Your Records
Other Situations: Frequently Asked Questions
Becoming A Millionaire

Schedule a Consultation

Get In Touch

Sunshine Accounting Group, LLC
Deltona, FL 32738
Phone: (386) 216-7169

Featured Articles

Schedule Consultation

Subscribe to our Emailed Newsletter!