When organizing your household papers, it's hard to know which papers need to be kept on hand and which can be stored in a safe-deposit box. Here are some simple guidelines:
What to File at Home...
- Banking--check registers, extra checks, passbooks, canceled checks
- Car titles, insurance policies, maintenance records, payment stubs
- List of all credit cards with numbers and telephone numbers; credit card statements
- Guarantees and warranties, including instruction pamphlets
- House records -- insurance policy and mortgage papers; list of home improvements and receipts; lease and renter's insurance policy, if renting
- Investment records -- 401(k), mutual fund, and broker statements
- Medical records -- immunizations, insurance forms, insurance payments, prescriptions
- Life insurance policies
- Tax records --c opies of tax records for previous years and receipts for deductible expenses you plan to claim in next year's return
- Copy of will (keep another copy at your attorney's office)
What to Store in a Safe-Deposit Box...
- Personal papers, including birth certificates, marriage license, passports, military service records, divorce decrees
- House deed and title
- Financial holdings, including savings bonds, bank certificates of deposit, stock certificates
- List of valuables (include room-by-room videotape of home, if possible)
Once you have a system in place for organizing your papers, your household will run much more efficiently. In addition, you will be better prepared to deal with the inevitable emergencies that pop up.