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Essential Document Locator Checklist

Important Documents

Last updated: April 30, 2015

Adult children of aging parents are often caught without the essential documents their parents need in an emergency situation.

Knowing where the official records are located as well as having copies of these important financial, legal and health documents can save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of time spent tracking down records. Download a printable copy of this checklist.

Photocopy Essential Documents

Here are the documents you'll need to keep copies of:

  • Birth certificate
  • Driver's license
  • Social Security card
  • Medicare / Medicaid / insurance coverage card
  • Organ donor card
  • Marriage certificate
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgage records
  • Military records
  • Legal Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy, Living Will, Advance Directives

Create a List of Where to Find Original Documents

You'll also need to know the location of the following documentation and other essentials:

  • Safe-deposit box and key, along with a list of the contents and names of anyone who has access to it
  • Any letter of instruction listing personal property not disposed of by will and wishes for distribution
  • Receipts and appraisals for valuables
  • Trust, banking and loan information
  • Tax returns
  • Insurance policies
  • Stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments
  • Living will, medical directives or Durable Power of Attorney
  • Birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage and divorce certificates, education and military records
  • Burial plots and desired funeral arrangements.

Create a List of Important Contacts & Accounts

You'll need contact information for the following contacts, as appropriate:

  • Clergy members
  • Attorney, financial planner, tax advisor, broker and/or anyone else with knowledge of or control over trusts, wills and finances
  • Beneficiaries
  • Bank account, loan and credit card contacts
  • Insurance agents

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