Having a family means you can’t avoid having a house full of paperwork: there will be a wealth of bank statements, credit card information, birth and death certificates, chequebooks, exam results and even some documents relating to your last will and testament, if you have arranged one. But how can you be sure these vital documents are safe in case of the unexpected – like a house fire, or an opportunistic thief? Fraudsters are now stealing identities by using other people’s personal details and so it is more important than ever that paperwork is not left lying around for them to access. Through no fault of their own, victims of identity theft may find it difficult to get loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter has been fully resolved.
Prevent the Worst Case Scenario
Make sure all the members of your household know about the risks of identity theft, and how important it is not to leave important documents lying about in the house, especially when you are planning to go away on a family holiday. No one should throw out anything containing their name, address or financial details without first putting it through a shredder. These are relatively inexpensive to buy and can be a fun job for children!
Ideally, homes should have digital electronic safes for storing personal records and important paperwork for peace of mind in the event of an outbreak of fire or other natural disaster. Think how time-consuming and laborious it would be to have to replace every one of those documents should the worst happen. Taking precautions could be the best thing you ever do.
Think About What Will Happen When You Are Gone
No one wants to think about their own death, but it makes sense to have paperwork in order so that your loved ones know what you wanted to happen, and to leave them instructions to follow so that they can easily deal with the necessary paperwork. Ideally, place all the required documents in one folder, including all bank accounts, insurance policies and other financial information. You can then lock the folder away using a digital electronic safe. Ensure that only your family know the combination.
Don’t Store Everything in Your Safe
Only leave the essentials – you don’t want your family having to plough through a huge quantity of paperwork to find the bits they really need. These essentials include your will, along with a letter of instruction with the names of any vital contacts. Keep documentation that is proof of ownership of housing and land, and vehicles, mortgage agreements and any documents pertaining to stocks and savings. Keep a list of debts and the last three years of your tax return documents. A list of your bank accounts with online log in data is helpful, as is your personal wishes regarding your own healthcare should it deteriorate to the point where you can no longer make your own decisions. Finally, keep life insurance policy information, and marriage certificates. All these documents can easily be kept safe in a digital electronic safe giving both you and your family peace of mind.