How To Digitize Your Most Important Documents

Have some spare time at home and looking for ways to be productive? Create a digital archive of all your important documents and keep yourself and your family safe and organized.
Data storage is an essential component for your and your loved ones’ safety. Storing all files, like certificates, expense reports, tax receipts, etc., is therefore important, so you do not lose them and can be accessed when you need them. Keeping documents safe and secure is important for legal as well as tax purposes.
But storing them in paper form can be a hectic task. If you start to accumulate papers, several things can happen. Your storage costs can go up, you might lose something, and space issues are the ultimate problem. Suppose any of your important documents get damaged. In that case, you are risking years’ worth of records in cases of floods and fires.
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Important documents you need to store electronically right now

In emergencies and disasters, you should have direct access to the following documents easily. Ensure you are storing them electronically and keeping them close with you at all times:
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  1. Driver’s licenses
  2. Birth certificates
  3. Lists of medications you’re taking, any conditions you have, and medical equipment you use
  4. Vaccination records
  5. Social Security cards
  6. Passports
  7. Adoption papers
  8. Citizenship papers
  9. Marriage, divorce, and child custody papers
  10. Military ID and military discharge paperwork
  11. A list of each type of insurance coverage, the policy number, and contact details
  12. Inventory of household possessions
Storing important documents electronically.
Tax returns
While you can easily get rid of all the supporting documents, the annual tax return documents are something you should hold on to forever.
Make a copy of your passport and keep it secure online, where it can be easily accessed anywhere, anytime! If your passport gets stolen while on vacation, you should have a digital copy stored electronically.
While your original will remain with your attorney, keeping at least two copies of the original is a great idea. Keep one copy stored electronically and the other in a safety deposit box at home.
Birth Certificate
Everyone has their birth certificate. It can be needed anytime, anywhere. So ensure you keep the original one in a safety deposit box, locked away from all kinds of threats. As far as getting lost is concerned, keep a copy of your birth certificate electronically so it can be accessed at all times, anywhere in the world.
Social Security Numbers and Documents
Your social security number should be stored separately in a notes folder, protected with a password. You should also keep your card safe locked away in a safe, with a copy of it stored electronically.
Medical Records
Medical records like vaccination cards, health history documents, healthcare plans, insurance policies, organ donation cards, etc., must be kept safely in a safe deposit box, as well as electronically.
Legal documents
The following legal documents must be kept closer to you at all times and must be stored electronically:
  1. Prenuptial agreement
  2. Trusts and wills
  3. Funeral and burial arrangement instructions
  4. Powers of attorney
  5. Names and phone numbers of attorneys
  6. Rental and lease agreements
  7. Mortgage agreements and statements
  8. Deeds of sale
  9. Vehicle registrations
  10. Insurance policies
  11. Household inventories, along with photos and videos.

Significance of storing important documents electronically.

Here are six important reasons why you should be storing your important documents electronically:
Electronic storage is efficient.
Storing important documents electronically allows you to maintain all records regularly and feasibly while taking up less storage space. You can start using the system as soon as possible to make your life more easy and efficient. It also allows you to clear your head and the extra drawer space, making everything more accessible.
Servers and cloud storage take almost no space in your home, which means most of your cabinets are going to be clutter-free.
Electronic storage helps protect data.
Storing your data in paper form is not always a good practice. Any theft, fire, flood, or other disasters and calamities can ruin your years’ worth of hard work. And in most cases like these, there is an ultimate way to recover some of the lost data.
Electronic storage helps backup your important information and protect you as well as your family’s privacy.
Electronic storage is secure.
Security and identity theft are the two most important concerns in the US, affecting millions every year. Storing important information and documents electronically helps prevent these threats. Highly sensitive data is one of the best options to have control over your family’s security.
Electronic storage offers better visibility.
Storing all your information electronically lets you keep track of all your data in a better manner. You can look for records with built-in tools and sort out the information carefully, at your convenience. It is much easier to increase visibility in cases where you quickly need access to data anywhere in the world.
Electronic storage makes everything accessible.
Electronic data makes your life more optimized and convenient. Data stored on online platforms can be easily accessed rather than physical formats and paper storage. The method is secure, simple, and extremely efficient.

Steps to store important documents electronically.

So, how do you store important documents electronically? Digital storage is the best alternative. Storing your documents digitally is better than storing them physically. Scanning your important documents creates a digital archive stored in a secure location. Even when you do not have all the excess technology like document scanners and excess storage capacities, you can still create a personal archive with the help of your smartphone and a few applications. Here are ways to get started:
Get Organized
Gather all of the documents you want to include in your digital archive. All your old letters, vital records, certificates, diplomas, heirloom photos, bank account details, newspaper clippings, tax receipts, etc., can be stored digitally.
Bring everything you want to store together and organize them into different categories.
Scanning Time
If you have a dedicated scanner or a printer that also functions as a scanner, you are good to go. But if you don’t, you can use mobile apps to scan your documents.
Create digital files with the help of either a scanner or a mobile app to fulfill your scanning requirements, capture pictures of the documents clearly from your phone’s camera, and save the images as PDF or JPEG. Applications like Adobe scan app, Dropbox, and even Evernote are great for scanning your documents.
Store your data
Combine all images and data you have scanned together in a separate file and store it. Ensure you are password protecting this folder to add an extra layer of security for you and your loved ones’ safety. Most computer operating systems offer locked folders or other encryption programs to protect your data. Make use of that. If you are scanning and storing documents through PDF edit programs, you will again get a feature to add passwords to store your documents carefully.

How to store important documents electronically? - Best Practices

  1. Spread your storage ideas. Do not keep all copies and originals in the same place. Ensure you keep originals in bank lockers or safety deposit boxes, while copies must be saved electronically.
  2. Combine all sorts of storage methods to store in a more organized and efficient way. Your methods could combine cloud storage/USB storage along with physical storage.
  3. Plan your storage portability in cases of risk. If you opt for hard drive storage, ensure the hard drives can be easily accessed in emergencies or disasters. The same goes for USB storage methods. While if you choose cloud storage options, you can access the data from anywhere, with just a computer and an internet connection.
  4. Invest in good quality, efficient fire, and water-resistant storage methodologies. Protect your data with utmost caution.
  5. When disposing of any physical documents, ensure you do it safely. Use paper shredders to dispose of it in a way you do not have to face any future repercussions or identity theft.