Inventory of Important Papers (FE446, Revised March 2020)

Keeping family records in a businesslike manner saves time, trouble, money and frustration. This inventory will help families gather important records for safe keeping and quick access when those records are needed.

Reviewed by Carrie Johnson, Personal and Family Finance Specialist, NDSU Extension

An inventory of important papers will help you find records when you need them, and it can be a guide to others in an emergency. Keeping family records in an organized manner saves time, trouble, money and frustration.

This inventory may be filled out by hand or in a fillable-form file found online at and updated as needed.

Keep one copy of this inventory in a convenient spot in your home files, and a photocopy in your safe deposit box or a fireproof, waterproof and burglarproof home safe. You can store the computer file version on a computer hard drive or in a secure online storage system.

Properly filled out and kept current, this information can help you find records when you need them.

A good recordkeeping system, with an up-to-date inventory, will allow someone who is unfamiliar with the system to locate important documents, maintain records and prepare reports in case of an emergency.

For more information on important family records see the following NDSU Extension publications:

• FE445 – Family Records: What to Keep, Where and for How Long

• FE1748 – Replacing Important Papers.

This inventory includes:

• Family Record

• Important Advisers and Contacts

• Property

• Banking, Savings and Investments

• Insurance (life, health, disability, homeowners/renters, auto, etc.)

• Cards (credit, debit, ATM, Smart, etc.)

• Debt Information

• Membership in Organizations/Clubs

• Other Important Records

This publication was authored by Debra Pankow, former family economics specialist, NDSU, 2006.

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