Organizing Your Critical Documents

July 31, 2012
What should your loved ones do? You’ve just had a medical emergency, and they need your social security card, advance medical directive, important financial documents, or perhaps even your will. Susan R. Shoenfeld, Associate Fiduciary Counsel, of Bessemer Trust Company, recommends in a recent article in Bessemer’s newsletter, Perspectives on Wealth Management (Issue V), that you create a notebook, accordion file, or digital file with the key information about your life. You should also include account passwords for any credit cards or bank accounts in which business is conducted online. What else should you include? She recommends the following:

  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Licenses
  • Religious Certificates
  • Social Security Card
  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Property/Possessions
  • Property Deeds
  • Mortgage Papers
  • Titles to Cars, etc.
  • Inventories of Household Valuables


  • Bank Statements
  • Blank Checks for Each Account
  • ID and Passwords
  • Tax Returns


  • Doctor Records
  • Doctor Contact Information
  • Blood Type
  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Insurance
  • Policy Numbers
  • Agent/Agency Contact Information
  • Deductibles
  • Proof of Ownership


  • Wills
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Medical Directives
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Trusts
  • Trustees
  • With this information at your designee’s fingertips, he/she/they will be well-prepared to handle your affairs. Finally, don’t forget to revisit your file and update it at least once a year. Medications and medical conditions, especially, are apt to vary over time. Supported by an organized record, you can more confidently face whatever the future holds for you. You will know that you have done everything you can to partner with your designee to make caring for you as smooth as possible. Peace of mind is a gift that your designee will thank you for over and over again.

    Ask KitKat

    HookLawCenter: KitKat, Why do dogs chase their tails, and why do cats bring their owners their catches?
    KitKat: Well, both dogs and cats chase their tails periodically to be playful or because of boredom. It really shouldn’t be a concern, unless it becomes a habit or is connected to a certain time of day or event like mealtime or going outside. Sometimes, you can just re-direct the dog or cat with a different activity or interact with them yourself. If it becomes a problem, you may have to consult an animal behaviorist or vet.
    Finally, why do cats bring their owners their catches? Well, for cats, it’s like bringing you a present or flowers. You should feel very flattered. Sometimes, they will bring you the catch not completely dead. In that case, they are trying to involve you in the gift. They want you to finish the job for them!
    (Information taken from “What’s Inside your Pet’s Head?” Parade Magazine, July 8, 2012)
    So, if you have any pet or animal questions you’d like to ask Kit Kat, please feel free to contact him at kitkat@hooklawcenter.com .

    Upcoming Seminars

    Hook Law Center is presenting a Veterans Aid & Attendance Seminar at Kings Grant House on August 20, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Click Here for more information and to see all of Hook Law Center’s upcoming seminars.
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