Vital Documents at Your Fingertips
August 2002

“Vital Documents at Your Fingertips,” Ensign, Aug. 2002, 72–73

Vital Documents at Your Fingertips

If we were to have a fire or other disaster in the middle of the night, the first thing I would grab (besides my flashlight, bathrobe, and slippers) would be my portable file. I have organized a legal-size, expandable file folder containing the following valuable documents:

  • Bank account, credit card information.

  • Birth certificates.

  • Children’s vital information (adoption and guardianship papers, special medical needs, fingerprint records).

  • Funeral, mortuary, cemetery plans.

  • Insurance policies (life, home, health, automobile) with a list of company names, agents, premium due dates, cash values.

  • Marriage certificate.

  • MedicAlert information.• Military papers.

  • Real-estate documents.

  • Retirement benefits.

  • Social Security cards.

  • Vehicle titles, registration, identification and license plate numbers.

  • Wills, living wills.

  • Additional documents: citizenship papers; safe deposit box (number, location); stocks, bonds, other investments; tax papers; affiliations; lists of debts.

The idea for organizing our family’s most important documents in a portable file stemmed from a presentation I attended years ago, and I have used the file ever since. When my husband was hospitalized, medical personnel required a copy of his living will. I knew right where to find it and quickly made a copy for them. Keeping my file current is easy. Every year as I prepare year-end summaries for tax purposes, I also update my file.

While it is important to store some original documents in a secure place, having copies at my fingertips has brought me a measure of peace. I know that in the event of an emergency, I am as prepared as I can be.—Berneice Neeley, Riviera Ward, Salt Lake Granite Park Stake