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Essential Document Checklist

When spring arrives, many of us look to clean out the garage and perhaps a closet or two. It takes a time commitment but the feeling of success from organizing and decluttering the things you’ve accumulated is momentous. 


One of the most overlooked items of spring cleaning is your financial documentation. This is the time of year where you need to decide what documents you need to keep and what is destined for the shredder. 


To help you along, I’ve assembled a checklist – What Documents Do I Need To Keep On File – of the documents you need to consider keeping in case you encounter any number of issues. 


Person going going through important documents and purchase receipts.
Proper management of financial and legal documents can prevent unnecessary headaches and ensure that you're always prepared for the future, whether it's for tax season, an audit, or unexpected life events.


Proper management of financial and legal documents can prevent unnecessary headaches and ensure that you're always prepared for the future, whether it's for tax season, an audit, or unexpected life events.


Essential Documents Checklist and Why You Need Them

A well-organized set of documents not only streamlines your financial management but also protects your assets and facilitates legal processes. In this post, I'll outline a detailed checklist covering essential documents that you should keep to support tax planning and safeguard your legacy.


Tax Documents:

Past Tax Returns: Keep copies of at least the last seven years of tax returns to help resolve any future IRS inquiries or to support amended return filings.


Transaction Records: Documents related to significant transactions, such as annual gifts to family members, are crucial for substantiating your returns and planning future gifts.


Healthcare Records:

Medicare and Medical Deductions: Ensure you have records related to Medicare eligibility and medical deductions. These documents are vital for tax purposes and for managing healthcare costs effectively.


Health Savings Accounts (HSA): Maintain detailed records of contributions and distributions, which are important for tax reporting and reimbursement purposes.


Legal Documents:

Citizenship and Military Service: These documents can affect your eligibility for certain benefits and legal rights.


Estate Planning Instruments: Regularly updated documents like Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney ensure that your assets are managed according to your wishes.


Marital Records: Keep records of marriage or divorce which might influence tax filings, government benefits, and estate planning.


Asset and Debt Documentation:

Financial Accounts: All statements and disclosures for your investment accounts and retirement plans are essential for financial oversight and planning.


Business Records: If you own a business, maintain all documents related to its operation and legal status.


Property and Loan Documents: This includes mortgage statements and titles to all properties and vehicles.


Insurance and Employment Records:

Insurance Policies: Keeping these documents updated and accessible is crucial for managing risk and ensuring adequate coverage.


Employment Contracts and Certifications: These documents are necessary for verifying terms of employment and qualifications, especially for executive positions and specialized professions.



Tips for Organizing and Storing Documents

Digital vs. Physical Storage: Consider digital storage solutions for ease of access and physical copies in secure locations like a fireproof safe for critical documents.


Regular Updates: Schedule annual reviews of your documents to ensure everything is current and reflective of any changes in your life or the law.



Final thought.

Maintaining an organized set of documents is crucial for effective tax planning and legacy preparation. By following this checklist (access your complementary printable copy here), you can ensure that you are prepared for any financial or legal needs that may arise.


Are you comfortable with your progress towards retirement? Do you need accountability in organizing your financial records? If you have more than $2 million saved and need help from a wealth manager, the Peak Wealth Planning team can assist. 


Peak Wealth Planning specializes in helping high-net worth individuals and families plan for the future.



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About the Author

Peter Newman is a Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA) and president of Peak Wealth Planning. He works with individuals nationwide that have accumulated wealth through company stock, ESOP shares, real estate, or running a business. Peter applies his unique background to help clients achieve their specific goals and enjoy peace of mind.


Peak Wealth Planning provides concierge services to meet your wealth management needs. Services include: financial planning, investment management, esop diversification, retirement income, insurance, and estate planning advice. Peak Wealth Planning is a fee-based financial advisor based in Champaign, Illinois, and Fraser, Colorado.




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