Designing Moves asks "Do you know where your important papers are?" – LIVING WELL Magazine

Do you know where your important papers are?

By Christine Smart, President of Designing Moves LLC, Linn County LIVING WELL Magazine

Do you know where your important papers are? As we have helped people move and transition over the past two and a half years, I’ve been surprised to find important documents and papers in long forgotten places. Recently, as I was cleaning out a client’s home, I found a copy of her birth certificate in a folder of travel information. Of course, at the time that was a logical place to put it if they were preparing for a trip. But, now that their affairs are handled by others, a search has been in progress for any clues to where important papers, stocks bonds, will or written wishes might be.

The best person to decide how to deal with your affairs if you are not able to is YOU!  We all have good intentions of getting things organized some day. Unfortunately, our health can quickly decline or an emergency demands our immediate response to find that insurance paper, will, or power of attorney. Why add to a stressful situation with more worry trying to find the missing paperwork. The time and money involved in getting duplicate documents, tracking down clues as to what investments were made, or even family health history can add up quickly.

Having vital documents together is necessary to deal with natural disasters or being quickly evacuated form your home. I’ve heard of many people who lost valuable documentation due to the 2008 floods not only from their homes but in the safe deposit boxes of the banks downtown. Even if there had been copies of the items in the safe deposit boxes it would have helped to get items replaced. Dealing with emergencies are stressful and being prepared with medical history, extra cash, flash drives, copies of insurances papers, marker and paper to leave notes for those that may need to find you can help you navigate the unknown.

Taking some time each day or having someone assist you in finding and organizing your important papers is priceless. There are many ways to gather your important papers; please visit for information on a product I personally use called the PortaVault by Securita. Don’t forget that once you have your “ducks in a row” talk to a trusted friend or relative to let them know where to find your information.

Reach Christine Smart and Designing Moves LLC at 319-377-6891, or via