There are several things to consider when you are storing important documents.  Most of the issues can be boiled down to a balance between accessibility and security – in other words, how can you make sure the people who need to use your documents can find them when the time comes, but also balance the desire to keep your documents private and safe from tampering or theft.

The balance between accessibility and security shifts depending on what kind of documents you are protecting and the circumstances in which they may be needed.   Some questions to consider are:

  • If needed, how quickly could someone get to this document?  Is it a document that would be needed right away or would a delay in access be okay?
  • Is this document vulnerable to theft, fire, or other damage?
  • What storage options are available – for example:
    • A particular location in your home.
    • A fire-proof safe.
    • A safe-deposit box.

With all of your important documents, you are in the best position to evaluate what storage method will work the best for you and balance the need for security with accessibility.   It is also important to remember that the balance of accessibility and security may be different for each important document.

No matter where you choose to store your documents, make sure that someone (or a few people) know where they are and how to access them.

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