It's hard to stay organized in any aspect of life, but keeping your financial records in order is one of the most important things you can do to help your family should a crisis occur.
A recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) showed that only one in four Canadians could easily locate their vital documents, so let's make 2013 the year that we all get organized to lessen anxiety when the unexpected happens. Here are some suggestions to get on the right track:
Step 1: Collect all of your financial records such as insurance policies, bank account and safety deposit box information, investment statements and more.
Step 2: Collect your personal data such as wills, powers of attorney, social insurance numbers, passport numbers, health records, computer passwords, etc.
Step 3: Once you have all your records gathered together, set up a filing system to organize the information. The Virtual Shoebox, located at www.clhia.ca, is a free online tool that can help you save important personal and financial information in one place so that family members can easily locate them in an emergency.
Step 4: Make sure you store this information in a safe place such as a secured folder on your computer, a safety-deposit box, or in a locked fireproof box.
Step 5: Finally, be sure to tell key family members or friends or your lawyer where this information is stored so they can find it easily and quickly.
“It's so easy not to think about it now, but taking a few minutes to organize important documents can be such a relief, especially when disaster strikes. Not only does it make our lives easier, but it can make a world of difference to a loved one who has to locate this information," says Wendy Hope, the vice president of external relations for CLHIA. “Organizing key information can help save time and money, and lessen anxiety for all concerned.”
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