Checklist of Important Papers

July 24, 2011

This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers many of the usual papers that a household will need to have on hand.  It is certainly a starting place.  Read  HOW TO SET UP A HOUSEHOLD FILING SYSTEM to learn how to organize these papers so that they are easy to retrieve when you need them.  As new papers enter your house, consider where they fit in your paperwork system.  If they are “important papers” to be filed, add to existing files or create new files.  Feel free to add your ideas as a comment to this page.



__ birth certificates / adoption papers
__ social security cards
__ family health records – vaccination records, medical/dental records, medication record
__ marriage certificate
__ divorce decree
__ passports
__ copy of driver’s license and insurance
__ citizenship records
__ education records, diplomas, certificates
__ military service records, summary of benefits
__ power of attorney
__ death certificates
__ funeral plan documents, burial plot records
__ wills, living wills, trusts (you may want to leave the original with your attorney)
__ insurance documents (health, life, accident, vehicle, property, etc.)
__ important contracts
__ employment records
__ resumes
__ any document that is government or court recorded
__ pets (licenses, health/vet info, pedigrees)


__ proof of ownership (deeds, titles, patents, copyrights, etc.)
__ vehicle records (titles, registration, repairs)
__ household inventory (appliance manuals and warranties, receipts for items under warranty)
__ investments
__ retirement funds (IRAs, employee pensions, annuities)
__ debit and credit card information
__ loan information
__ membership cards, subscriptions, clubs (anything with renewals)
__ list of important papers that are stored elsewhere (lawyer’s office, safe deposit box (and key))

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