For specific situations that are on our day list or in progress, most of us get the needed documentation together, distribute it where required, acquire it where entitled and move on. But, when it comes to documentation we should have ready, in advance, for when it’s needed some time in the future – we tend to put it off, forget to update or just procrastinate. Maybe you are one who has it all under control, but for the rest of us, here’s a nudge!
To begin with, it’s not just our personal documentation obligations that are important. When we participate in our business community, our general society, our government and our acquisitions – such as the purchase of a home — it’s vital to be sure others provide the correct documents to us for what we buy, own and use, etc. Some documentation is about an outreach factor on our part; and some is about the compliance of others.
Many factors drive the kinds of documents we need to pull together, provide, execute, acquire, store safely and update regularly. Age is a driving factor, as is our marital and/or parental status. For some of us, our health may demand that we have very specific documents.
When we are young we do not usually spend a great amount of time thinking about our elder years, the realities of later life, incurable illness and inevitable death! We don’t always think about things like a Will or a Health Directive. Unless we have children, we don’t consider Guardianship preference documents or life insurance to help them if they still need to be provided for when we die.
There are important documents without which we just can’t do certain things unless we conscientiously keep them current, and updated if our circumstances change (like drivers’ or contractors’ licenses). Documents such as Leases, Rental Agreements, Mortgages, Medical Identifications (HMO, Social Security, Medicare, etc.) medication stipulations and various Insurance policies are additional important documents that need to be kept current for functional, referral and legal purposes…
How about other forms of documentation? When moving through the process of purchasing a home, we have the entire documentation history of that property researched through the Title company that our Mortgage loan officer recommends. We might not like the time it takes, but it is essential. Your Mortgage is one of the most important documents you will have during your lifetime.
An essential document inventory is similar in many ways for all of us, but it’s very specific for each of us in other ways. Those in the know advise us that young adults should take action to protect their assets and provide a record of their wishes in the event of a crisis. In California, we have to insure our vehicles in order to have our driving privileges! Many medical providers insist on a DNR in their files, with specific instructions and authorized parties named.
Being clear about exactly what protections you have to have as well as what is advisable to have can get confusing. Many, many smart protections are completely optional.
It’s good investment to get professional guidance in some of those optional cases. For instance, how much life insurance is reasonable? Your Mortgage loan officer, your attorney and your financial advisor are all good resources for what documentation you need, how to acquire it, how to maintain it and how to benefit from it!