Getting Your (Personal Document) House in Order

While financial planning and investing services are the most prominent aspects of wealth management it’s important to note the smaller steps on the path to financial success. It is essential clients have their personal documents in order before financial planning occurs.

Basic personal documents, known as vital records, while essential are often lost in the natural shuffles of life. Vital records are the certificates or records of life events issued by a government entity, most commonly referring to birth/death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce records and social security cards. Along with the records issued to the individual, these vitals are filed in a State Vital Statistics office or in a city, county or other local office.

In the event of misplacement, the vital records listed above may be retrieved by mail or in person at your local Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Registries, by state, can be accessed through: To access copies of records, information like the birth dates, death dates, names of the couple, date of marriage/divorce, and purpose for which the copies are needed, etc., are required. A checklist for specific documents is provided here:

Protocol for retrieving a replacement social security card is more involved than those above; proof of citizenship, which can be presented in the form of a passport or birth certificate, and proof of identity, which can be validated using a passport, U.S. driving license, or a state issued non-driver identification card, are required. This application must be made in person at a local Social Security Office. You can locate the closest office here:

Preparing your personal documents ensures a smooth transition into the financial plan, and financial flexibility.

You might also be interested in this post, Finding the Forgotten.

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