We’re one week into 2019 and already I’m starting to dread the tax filing deadline of April 15th. Each year I make the same New Year’s resolution to keep my personal and business records up-to-date for the entire year. But, then with the approaching holidays in November and December, I get distracted and neglect my organizing and filing. This year was no exception; thus, my dread of that April 15th date.
Saving time and money are the key objectives for having an organized system in place. This is …
especially true if you are handling someone else’s finances. Those with memory loss may not remember the location of important documents during a crucial time. Once the decision to organize is made, the next logical steps are deciding what to organize and how to start the organizing process.
What to Organize
- Financial statements including checking, savings, mortgages, loans, and credit cards
- Household or business expenses
- Medical records such as doctor and hospital visits, and medications
- Insurance and Investment records
- Wills, trusts, powers of attorney for property (finances) and for medical
- Real estate titles and deeds
- Military records
- Tax records
- Government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
- Social media accounts
How to Start the Organizing Process
- Make the commitment to just ‘start’
- Begin with the end in mind by determining your objective: Declutter / Downsize / Move
- Determine how to organize: By category / By year
- Decide where to keep your records: Filing cabinet / Safe deposit box / Computer / Cloud
- Work on one task at a time
According to the IRS, the length of time to keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event which the document records. Generally, keep your records that support an item of income, deduction or credit shown on your tax return until the period of limitations for that tax return expires. Due to the possibility of new tax laws each year, it is wise to check the IRS website for the most recent retention updates.
To help facilitate your organizing project, our Lifetime Legacy Planner is designed to catalog the location of your records so you or your loved ones can find documents quickly and easily when the need arises.