Protect your important documents from fire, flood, loss, and theft by safeguarding them with one of these methods.
Safe Deposit Box – Keep the original copies of vital documents such as your will and beneficiary forms, marriage and birth certificates, and stock and bond certificates in a safe deposit box. It’s also a good idea to make reference copies for home use, especially of wills. A safe deposit box may be sealed after an owner’s death.
Home Safe – Store important documents you need access to on a regular basis in a home safe. This may include passports and tax records as well as irreplaceable items such as old family photos. Choose a fireproof, water-resistant safe that has been burglary tested.
Digitize Documents – Consider scanning documents needed for a paper trail, such as expense receipts or other tax-related documents, and store them in a secure environment (for example, an online cloud storage service). The IRS accepts electronic records including scanned receipts and downloaded bank statements.
Lockable Mailbox – Protect against indenity theft by using a lockable mailbox. Be especially careful of mail that contains your social security number, driver’s license, credit card or bank account statements and tax information. Even regular bill may provide enough information for a criminal to steal your indenity.
Securely Shred – Always dispose of documents containing any financial or personal information by using a shredder or hiring a professional shredding service. When shopping for a paper shredder, choose a ribbon or confetti model capable of handing multiple sheets at a time.