Among your important papers should be a household inventory — an itemized list of your personal belongings. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, an accurate household property inventory is a necessity. It provides information for:
- Recording the approximate value and identification details of items owned
- Purchasing homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
- Processing insurance claims
- Listing personal property and its value in a net worth statement
- Planning replacements of furnishings and equipment
- Planning the distribution of your estate
In case of a loss due to burglary, vandalism, or an insured peril, your insurance company will require a list of all items lost or destroyed. Reconstructing a list of belongings from memory is often difficult; it’s easy to overlook items that you’ve hidden away and even ones you use regularly.
Reduce your initial investment of time in preparing an inventory by photographing and/or videotaping your belongings. Refer to Household Inventory for more detailed information. You can enter your personal information into the Household Inventory Interactive Form (available in rtf format) and save it on your computer hard drive. List a description of each item, serial number, purchase date, original cost, and estimated current value. If you can’t find original purchase prices of household electronic equipment in your records, read newspaper classified advertisements or check the Internet for the value of electronic gear that is similar in age and features to yours. Record that information on your household property inventory list and keep it up-to-date. Store an extra copy of your inventory in a secure location outside your home and compare it periodically with the original to make sure the versions remain identical.
a. Which Papers to Keep
- a.1. Household Property Inventory
- b. Where to Keep Papers
- c. How Long to Keep Papers
- d. When to Update Papers
- e. How to Replace Papers
Organize Your Important Household Papers belongs to a series called Legally Secure Your Financial Future. The series also includes information to help you communicate with others and begin preparing your estate plan.