Want to finally get organized this year? Of course you do. Because as more of us work, learn, and socialize online, it's becoming increasingly important (and difficult!) to update, organize, and store all of our most important documents and information. Keeping track of everything from passwords to important financial records, your family's medical history, and crucial legal documents like power of attorney or your will requires a system.
This becomes even more important if you're caring for an elderly parent or loved one.
But with so much information to keep track of, how can your family get all of your documents organized? Which files are absolutely critical, and which files are less important after a few years?
We’ve put together a comprehensive checklist of the most important documents you will (probably) need and how you can quickly and safely organize and manage all of these files in one place so they're always ready to. And if you'd like to learn more about all of these critical documents, you can also check out our ultimate checklist of important documents guide for an even deeper dive.
Why You Need to Organize Your Personal Life Now
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how important their documentation is until it's too late. For example, think about what can happen in the following scenarios:
- Your elderly parent passes away without warning. As part of their will, you are named the executor of their estate. You are honored to fulfill this duty, but it will require gathering and processing a variety of legal documents and financial records that are needed for probate. You go into their house and find a 4-tier file cabinet stuffed full of papers. Where do you start?
- Your elderly loved one begins to exhibit dementia and is placed into the care of a nursing home. You are asked by the family to manage her property and start the process of applying for Medicaid. Unfortunately, due to her condition, you can't ask her where her financial records are or even rely on the validity of her answers. Furthermore, since your loved one is still alive, you will require official authorization to prove that you can make legal decisions on their behalf.
- A fire or flood destroys your home, including all physical documents as well as your computer. Without a backup of this information, you’d have no choice but to painstakingly request copies of each file; most likely one at a time from a wide range of sources.
These are all examples of real-world events that happen every day to thousands of people, and why preparing for eventualities with Pillar can be so useful ahead of a crisis. Through using a remote, centralized location to prepare all of these necessary documents, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that you’ll be ready when the time comes.
Important Documents Checklist
Whether you’re collecting files for yourself or a loved one, there are several critical areas where having the necessary information ahead of time can make a huge difference when you need it. Here are the major categories of documentation that you’ll want to make sure you’ve got ready.
Medical Records & Documents
- Health care / dental / optical insurance policy and information (including Medicare or Medicaid). Take photos of the front and backs of all insurance cards.
- Primary care physician information. You can also include any specialists that are regularly used.
- Preferred laboratories (for services such as blood work, etc.)
- Preferred pharmacy location
- HIPPA release form
- List of medications (including dosage)
- List of pre-existing conditions
- List of allergies
- Vital medical records
- Healthcare proxy form
- Living will or advance directive form
- DNR (do not resuscitate) form (if applicable)
- List of any commonly used medical equipment and devices
- Medical bills
Learn more about your medical record rights, how to get your medical records, how long doctors are required to keep your medical records, and what should be included in most medical records.
Financial Documents & Paperwork
- Bank account number and information
- Bank statements
- Sources of income
- Retirement account information
- Investment account information
- Pension information
- Social Security information
- Life insurance information
- Disability benefits
- Real estate information
- Property insurance information
- Vehicle information
- Vehicle insurance information
- Other asset and account information
- Credit card information
- Financial advisor or agent contact information
- Tax returns & other tax records
- Government benefits
- Outstanding loans or other debts
- Safety deposit box information
- Signed wills and trusts
- Attorney information
- Power of attorney forms
- Birth certificate
- ID card or driver’s license
- Social Security card
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce paperwork
- Email login and passwords
- Home security information
- Household device logins
- Safe combination
- Digital copies of receipts
- Storage unit information
- Where a spare key is hidden
- Organ donation
- Handling of the body (burial, cremation, etc.)
- Key people to reach out to
- Funeral arrangements and any pre-payment details
- What to do with pets
- Estate plan
- Obituary details
History / Legacy
- Family tree (i.e. 23andMe)
- Travel documents
- Favorite charity
- Letters to share with family members
- Cherished family memories
- Any thoughts or wisdom to share (ethical will)
Why Pillar Life is the Ultimate Organizer for Your Most Important Documents
Bringing all of these documents and important papers together can be overwhelming. At Pillar, we know that, and they’ve got you covered.
Pillar is designed to organize all of your important documents and information into one safe, central location. No more rummaging through file cabinets or guessing which part of a hard drive a rouge file is located. With Pillar, everything gets collected and categorized so that it can be retrieved in a manner of seconds.
How will the data be organized?
The files will be arranged into categories similar to what you see in the checklist above. We even provide you with step by step guidance to ensure that nothing critical gets missed.
Can I only upload files for my elderly loved one, or can I also upload my own files?
Pillar lets you create as many profiles as you want. You can customize one for each of your family members, including yourself.
Will my information be secure?
Yes! Similar to banks, Pillar’s security starts with AES 256-bit encryption. Beyond that, we employ multiple ways to ensure that you and only you will have access.
Can I share information with other family members?
Absolutely! All the data that is stored can be accessed by other family members at your discretion.