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The 4 Types of Legal Documents Every Family Needs

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

When planning your legacy and making your wishes known, organization is vital. Both digital and physical organizing of your essential legal documents is crucial. But what types of legal documents should you have on hand, and how should you manage them? Here's a comprehensive guide to help you organize your essential information.

1. Records

We manage much of our lives through various types of legal documents, particularly personal and financial records. Here are some essential records you should have:

  • Birth Certificate: Proof of your identity and citizenship.

  • Marriage Certificate: Legal proof of your marital status.

  • Social Security Card: Required for various legal and financial transactions.

  • Medication Information: Lists of current medications, dosages, and prescriptions.

  • Health Insurance: Policy numbers and contact information.

  • Bank Account Information: Account numbers, branch locations, and contact details.

  • Investment and Debt Information: Portfolio details, loan agreements, and other financial instruments.

  • Property Deeds: Legal titles to any real estate you own.

2. Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are a crucial part of legal document management. Keep clear documentation of your designated beneficiaries—the people you decide will inherit various assets. This applies to all investments, bank accounts, and your life insurance policy. Regularly update these named beneficiaries to reflect changes in your life or wishes.

3. Trust

While a will can cover everything from real estate to sentimental items, it also guarantees that your family will go through probate—a process that can be lengthy and expensive. Having the correct type of Trust saves your loved ones from probate and protects your assets from the all-too-common lawsuits in today's society.

4. Advance Directives

Advance directives are types of legal documents that enable your loved ones to make decisions when you are unable to do so yourself. Consider designating:

  • Health Care Proxy: This individual can make medical decisions on your behalf.

  • Power of Attorney: The person you designate can make financial choices for you.

Organization Tips for Legal Document Management

Effective legal document management involves some basic organization:

  • Clearly Labeled Copies: Keep both hard and digital copies of your essential documents clearly labeled for easy identification.

  • Trusted Confidant: Inform someone you trust about the location of your legal documents.

  • Regular Checks: Periodically review important documents to ensure they are up-to-date.

Taking these steps for legal document management can save you and your loved ones time and stress in the future.

Need Help with Types of Legal Documents?

If you have questions or need assistance with any of these types of legal documents, we're here to help. Whether you're unsure how to properly manage your legal documents or need guidance on creating a Trust or Advance Directive, our team of experts can provide the support you need. Legal document management doesn't have to be complicated; reach out anytime to make the process simpler and more secure for you and your loved ones.

Check out our Cash Flow Hacks podcast to learn more about Types of Trusts.

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