WE'RE BACK with another deep-dive into three more files that we consider "essential" enough to pre-print on each of our Daily Binders. If you haven't already, check out our first post about this topic here: 4 essential files and why they're essential. After this read, we hope you're convinced about the importance of keeping a physical copy of these documents!
Life Insurance Policy - Legal Tab
We hope it's not news that if anyone depends on you and/or your income, you should have a life insurance policy. As an important protection against the unimaginable, a life insurance policy ensures that your loved ones are provided for financially should something happen to you.
Policy documents are usually fairly thick and oversized. So do you really need to keep them?
We'd argue the answer is yes. Firstly, insurance companies often ask for a physical copy of the document at the time of a claim, and in some contracts a physical copy is actually mandatory. Even in a post-Covid, highly digitized world, a majority of policyholders prefer to have a physical copy of their policy to prevent uncertainty and errors at the time of purchase and when making claims. It is also often easier to read terms and conditions, clauses, and other details of an insurance plan in physical form rather than online.
Finally, if something should happen to you, a physical copy of your life insurance policy will likely be easier for a spouse or children to access, as opposed to online behind password protected accounts or in random folders (unless you're super organized there - good job!)
Tax Returns - Finance Tab
You've likely heard this advice before. Keep your tax return info (filed tax returns + all supporting documents) for 3-7 years, depending on the statute of limitations, when the IRS may ask for them. Keeping your physical tax returns is a good way to check for errors, review details, and prevent the complete loss of your information should the electronic version fail. If you need to file an amended return later, a physical copy can help you update calculations. A physical copy of tax returns can also be more secure when working with family members and financial or other advisors.
Evacuation/Communication Plan - Emergency Tab
A physical copy of your evacuation/communication plan (plus several copies) is incredibly useful. Shrink and give a copy to your family members (some like to laminate them as well). Keep a copy or two in each car. Post a copy in a central area in your home, and review it together often. Keeping additional copies of your plan allows you to replace lost or damaged copies immediately, to share them easily, and to maintain access to it in the event you need to leave your home immediately with your important files and bug-out bag (e.g. a sudden evacuation).
Let us know what you think in the comments! To start your home binder and create a dedicated place for these and other important files, check out our Daily Binders!