[bgimage]

Creating a Family Records Almanac to Organize Your Most Important Personal Information

A Family Records Almanac is an organized compilation of your family and financial accounts.  Once completed, it should be kept in a place that is easily accessible.  It’s essential to be able to get to it fast in case of emergencies that require you to leave quickly–like a hurricane or fire. An added benefit of organizing your important account information and documents is that it can also make managing your finances less stressful, especially around tax time. Because this almanac includes your most sensitive information, you also need to be sure you keep it in a secure location that you can access quickly, such as a fireproof safe.

Below is a table of contents of what information to gather and the documents you want to have on hand. We encourage you to include other members of your household in this process, so everyone is on the same page. This could be particularly important for older children in the unfortunate event of your death or that of a spouse.

Family Information and History

  • Family Birth and Social Security Information
  • Passports, Drivers Licenses (copies) & Other Travel Documents
  • Family Health History
  • Family Wedding Dates and Other Important Milestones
  • Education, Technical, and Professional Certificates
  • Military Service Reports
  • Separation/Divorce Documents

Financial Security

  • Primary Account Numbers: Banks, Savings & Loans, Credit Unions
  • Investment Relationships: Brokerage Accounts
  • Investment Relationships: Mutual Funds
  • Investments: Stocks & Bonds
  • Other Investments or Trusts
  • Retirement Plan Accounts
  • Prepaid Burial and Funeral Plans
  • IRS Tax Returns and Records
  • Places of Safekeeping (i.e. Safe Deposit Boxes)

Insurance

  • Life Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Vehicle Insurance

Home and Other Property

  • Real Estate
  • Rental Properties
  • Legal documents, such as Warranty Deeds, Deeds of Trust, Titles, Appraisals, Settlement Statements, Mortgage Documents/Disclosures, etc.
  • Preferred Repair & Service Providers
  • Vehicle Maintenance Records
  • Other Property Details

Other Finances

  • Credit Cards
  • Lines of Credit and Loans
  • Accountant, Estate Planning Professional, and Related Important Documents

Organizations and Affiliations

  • Frequent Flier Information
  • Other Group Affiliation Details

After printing the almanac pages, you may want to store them in a binder for convenience. In addition, using plastic storage sleeves protects the documents that correspond to the information you record. As you research and gather this information, consider including additional items such as a family tree and information about your pets.