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

The April 15 tax deadline is looming. If you’re like me, this means you already are gathering a lot of paperwork. That makes this a good time to go a step further and pull all of your important documents and personal information together into one file or list.

If you’re wondering what to include, download this checklist. It will ask you to fill in 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.)

Why should you do that? Because it will make your life easier to have all of your information in one place. And it will make it easier on your friends and family if you become unable to handle your own affairs.

If you want to do even more, 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 are all in one place.

Documents you might include are:

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

Once you finish the list, put it somewhere safe. Then tell someone you trust—it can be a family member, a friend or even a lawyer--where you put the list. That way, if something should happen to you, it will be easier for others to help manage your affairs.

Online information challenge
Gathering up paper is one thing. But what about all of 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 Oklahoma (BCBSOK) shares to protect its members. All members can keep their protected health information (PHI) safe by using a Standard Authorization Form.

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