Just like how businesses depend on record management facilities, you too need to file and archive important personal, financial and other documents. They will be handy in times of uncertain situations like illness, disaster, robbery, death and other unforeseen circumstances which require paperwork backed by supporting documents.
Today, we bring you reference list of some of the most important documents that you should always keep organized and handy.
Netbanking, e-statements and virtual account balances have not been in existence for long. Less than a decade back, the average India made trips to the bank to manually update passbooks. Almost everyone had a worn out file locked away somewhere, which contained annual or semi-annual account statements and a hoard of other banking documents. While the need for such meticulous archiving has been wiped away, it still pays to have details to each bank account listed with relevant paperwork.
Banking documents checklist
- Details of all your bank accounts and holding capacities
- Nomination details
- Login ids for internet banking – Passwords should NOT be written but memorized
- Details of all lockers and their inventory
- List of ATM and credit cards
The need for insurance is driven by peace of mind on the part of the insurer for his/her loved ones if an adverse situation should arise. So it would be common sense to assume that insurance documents and details of insurance policies should be easy to locate should a loved one need to make a claim. Your archive for insurance documents should include all insurance policies and their relevant details.
Insurance documents checklist
- Hard copies of all policies
- List of all policies, their amounts, nominations and including a ‘who to contact’ column which contains phone numbers and contact details of insurers in case of someone needing to make a claim in your absence
No longer are investments of the common man limited to property and fixed deposits. With the influx of online trading platforms and a host of different financial instruments, Indians now have a larger footprint when it comes to the different types of investments. While it pays to have different files for each type of investment, you could separate out your personal archive by dividers in one single file for a single point access to all your investments.
Investment documents checklist
- All documents related to property including ownership titles, legal perusals, payment records, mortgage documents and insurance covers
- Equity, mutual funds, PPF and all other types of deposits/investments – Make a list and each investment should be accompanied by relevant paperwork including nomination details
- A Will, along with contact details of executors and witnesses
Non-banking loans and investments
It is understandable that not all investments and loans come and go through financial institutions. Loans can come from various sources including friends, family, loan sharks or other personal and business contacts. Similarly, there could be off-the-books investments including jewellery passed on from generations, valuables in private lockers, etc.
In case of an unfortunate event, you and your family should have access to information regarding such assets/liabilities which do not typical show up on your accounts. Your list could possibly contain the below.
- Details of all private lockers and their inventory
- Details, dates and amounts of loans availed or given to friends, family or other contacts
All of us have a medical history. It pays to hang on to vital reports and other documents relating to medical procedures or surgeries that you may have undergone. These reports may come handy because doctors could place heavy reliance on historical information while making a medical decision affecting your well being and future life.
Medical documents checklist
- Reports of surgeries and other medical procedures, if any
- Reports of past serious illnesses or conditions that could be used for reference – These could include x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, MRI, etc
- Reports of permanent illness/disability
- Contact numbers of family doctors
- Details of proposed organ donation, if any
E-mails and other online accounts are no longer restricted to chat and conversations with friends, family and professional contacts. Today your e-mail account is recipient to e-statements and a variety of notices from different types of institutions and organizations.
In fact, your e-mail account could hold the key to many unanswered questions in case of your absence.
Online accounts checklist
- List out all your email accounts
- List out all other online accounts that you use to facilitate or support any financial transaction
- Login ids for other websites including social networks
Personal / Misc. documents
PAN card, driver’s license, passport, election card, ration card, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and professional ids are some of the personal documents that define the life of an average Indian. Make an archive that contains copies of all your personal documents and ids.
Why go through the trouble?
‘It won’t happen to me’ is the basic assumption that we all survive on every single day of our lives. While optimism is good thing, it is important to organize and safeguard the documents of your life which will hold the key to financial security and well being of your family should something happen to you. It may be a cumbersome thing to do but once you have proper filing in place, all you have to do is keep adding documents whenever necessary.
Here is yet another invaluable tip – As mentioned above, you should organize the documents listed above physically. However, it will help you tremendously if you scan these documents digitally and store digitally in a secure online vault. If everything goes wrong – these documents will always remain in digital form.