Help Your Clients Get Organized

Many successful RIAs may add value to client relationships by offering resources on subjects not directly related to investing when opportunities arise. For instance, your clients may complain about how difficult it is these days to identify and organize all the important documents in their lives. Where exactly is that birth certificate or automobile title? Could relatives easily locate medical records or insurance policies?

You might suggest a resource offered by the Cooperative Extension System. On its website, it offers a step-by-step lesson on organizing important household papers.  The lesson includes a link to a comprehensive form that identifies and categorizes important information. It’s a form a client might save on a personal computer hard drive while keeping an extra copy outside the home in a secure place.

The completed form will include information on important advisors and contacts, banking, investments, insurance policies, credit and debit cards. It has room for details where to locate important records like passports, marriage certificates, adoption papers, titles, bills of sale, durable powers of attorney and the like. The list is an extensive one.

The form also includes room for an inventory of household items. The Cooperative Extension System says this list can be invaluable in cases of fire and theft.

Your clients might have questions about how long to keep important papers. This is another subject covered by the Cooperative Extension System. For instance, it recommends that tax returns be kept for 3 to 6 years.

Your clients will also find links on the site to resources which can help them replace lost documents including passports, driver licenses, property deeds and citizenship papers.

Organizing documents is a burden many clients may tend to postpone.  They may regret doing so when emergencies arise. The help you provide now could be remembered and appreciated in times of need, and may strengthen the bond between you and your client. 

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