Why you should gather all of your important documents in one place

Why you should gather all of your important documents in one place

Important Documents BCBSILThe April 15 tax deadline is looming. I don’t know about you, but I’m already gathering a lot of paperwork. This seems like a good time to go a step further and pull all of your important documents and personal information together into one file or list.

Why? Having all your info in one place will make your life easier, and it will make it easier on your friends and family if you become unable to handle your own affairs.

A good starting point is this downloadable checklist. You can fill in your personal information, like the name and phone number of your doctor, and the policy numbers for your insurance plans. (Please note: Blue Cross and Blue Shield will not see the information because you will download the form to your own computer before you fill it out.)

Once you finish the list, put it somewhere safe. Then tell someone you trust—maybe a family member, a friend or even a lawyer—where you put the list.

If you want to take it a step further, think about gathering up some of your important documents and putting them in one file or fireproof lock box. It will be easier to find them in the future if they’re all in one place. Documents you might include are:

  • Your will, which tells survivors what to do with your possessions after you die
  • Birth, marriage, and divorce certificates
  • The title to your car   
  • The key to your safe deposit box at the bank

Online information challenge
Gathering up paper is simple enough, but what about all your personal information stored on the web?  Getting access to that requires a password, answers to a security questions, or PIN (personal identification numbers). In short, all of the things we are told never to reveal to someone else.

The American Bar Association suggests putting all your online user names, passwords, security questions, and PINs in a something called a “digital asset trust.” It’s not a part of your will which becomes a public record. It survives death and it’s easier to change than wills.

Download a checklist of important documents.

This blog is not the only thing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) shares to protect its members. All members can keep their protected health information (PHI) safe by using a Standard Authorization Form, which gives your appointed family or friends access to your information. Keep in mind, you’re not required to give this access to anyone, but it is available to you should you want it.