When it comes to your certificate of birth, the forms for the tax return, your financial statements for the business, Deed to the assets of yours. These are all significant documents that you wouldn’t want to lose, or even worse, to fall into the wrong hands, even if you may not use them very much.
But ask yourself this: do you believe that you have safely put these documents away? In the case of an emergency, are they well organized and easily accessible?
While no one wants to concentrate on natural disasters, injuries, or fires that can potentially damage your house, it can give you peace of mind to prepare for the worst. One way to plan for emergencies is to ensure that you have placed your documents in an easily accessible secured location. Knowing how to safely and accessibly store your essential documents will help you escape further stress during the stressful days following a disaster.
There are three key storage options to consider when it comes to storing your papers. You’ll find a quick description of each of them below.
1. ONLINE STORAGE:
Using an online document management system is another way to make sure that your digital documents are secure. A cloud storage account like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive gives you easy 24/7 access to your documents wherever you are and on any compatible computer, as long as you have an Internet connection. Cloud-storage makes it fast and convenient to share important information with family members. You can simply arrange your records in one location and send your data a digital “key” to relatives. It’s also a good way, like beloved images, to back up all of your digital content. The use of online technologies has its drawbacks because of future risks.
Hackers, however, so think about using password security options on your papers. To secure confidential information, you can also use electronic encryption.
You are liable for the choice you want to store your significant documents. Only make sure your vital documents in case of an emergency are both safe and readily available for your family members to locate.
2. SAFE DEPOSIT BOX:
Bank safe deposit boxes are a particularly safe way for substantial documents to be kept. Before you can view the box’s contents, the bank verifies your signature against the one on your rental contract, never leaves someone unattended inside the vault, and allows two keys to open your box (yours and the guard key of the bank). Also, these boxes are placed in an alarm, steel, or concrete vault containing motion sensors, video cameras, heat detectors, and other safety equipment. It’s the same vault the bank uses to store its records and cash, after all. Ask the bank about its security policies to make sure your vault will be safe.
The biggest downside to renting a safe deposit box is that only when the bank is open will you reach it, so you might not want to place something inside that you would need in an emergency, such as your passport or burial instructions. During a pandemic, accessibility is also an issue when banks can restrict walk-in access to banking services.
Another downside is that, upon your passing, your safe deposit box is locked. So it could take a long time for your executor to get his hands on it if your original will is in the package, rather than in your house or at your attorney’s office. States have various laws governing access to a safe deposit box after the death of the owner, so ask the bank if it is appropriate for anyone to open your safe deposit box following your death through court order or other official action. The trick can not be accomplished by a power of attorney contract that designates who should have access to your safe deposit box.
The other person should also sign the bank’s rental contract as a joint renter if you rent a box with your partner, child, or someone else.
3. STORE YOUR DOCUMENTS AT HOME:
Buying a lockable file cabinet doesn’t cost much if you want to keep your financial papers out of the reach of those in your house. Spend a little more on buying a big fire-resistant file box, file cabinet, or safe to protect you from robbery and fire. FEMA suggests that electronic copies of sensitive documents be placed on a removable flash drive or external hard drive in a password-protected format in a fireproof and waterproof box or a safe.
Any item that claims to be fire-resistant should have an Underwriters Laboratories rating that specifies how long the interior of the item stays safe during a fire. A half-hour is the shortest time; four hours is the longest time.
Consider what you could place inside that needs protection when assessing various fire-resistant items: paper burns at 450 degrees F, but temperatures as low as 125 degrees F can damage computer discs and audio/visual media. Class 125 protects digital media; Class 150 protects film, magnetic tape, and videotapes; Class 350 protects paper papers, fabric, and metals (coins, jewelry, etc.). The UL class classification of an object represents how much heat it can withstand. If you live in an environment prone to flooding, invest in something that is both water-resistant and fire-resistant. For a small fire-resistant package, prices vary from $40 to $2,000 + for a fire-resistant file cabinet.
You just need some time, persistence, and good document management services, and even the messiest, most overflowing filing cabinet of personal papers can be wrestled into submission.
We’ve found the best paper organizing ideas to help you get started, which will keep things organized (and your mind sane) when it comes to paying the cable bill. These ideas will ensure that each piece of paper has a happy place to land, from desktop letter trays and drawers to color-coded binders and personalized memory boxes. And for even more ways of never missing something again, check out these basic ideas-storing papers.