by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

*Inventory important documents

Do you have copies or originals of all your important papers? Take some time to sit down and look over everything you have.

*Get rid of what you don’t need

Some people keep everything while others keep nothing. Knowing how to stay in the middle will help you keep a useful set of the most important information.

*Evaluate storage options

It all starts with knowing what you have, how long to keep it, where to store it, and when to shred it.

You will need to store papers, valuable items, and computer data. The space you have available in your home might determine your options.

Talk with your lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor about the options they suggest for your situation. You will probably use a combination of storage options.

It’s a good idea to prepare an emergency kit containing photocopies of papers you’re likely to need to help you recover from a disaster. Records you might consider putting in that kit (and on a thumb drive) include:

• Birth, death, and marriage certificates

• Adoption papers

• Photos or videos of possessions

• Military records

• Social Security cards

• Mortgage/property deeds

• Car titles

• Insurance policies

Your kit might also include:

• List of emergency contacts, including family members and your Financial Advisor

• Important medical information, including copies of insurance cards, doctors’ names and phone numbers, prescriptions, and immunizations

• List of credit card and debit card numbers, including “800” contact numbers

• Book of blank checks

• Electronic backups of critical information

• Safe deposit box location, list of contents, and key

• Recent pay stubs and employee benefits information

• Retirement account records

• Home improvement records

• Recent tax returns

Stay tuned for next week’s column:

“Setting up an emergency communication plan for your family.”