Our information is increasingly getting digitized. Our phones have fingerprint identifiers, our authentication systems are getting more and more sophisticated, our government records offices are partly digital now and will become increasingly so. How many of us have stepped in a Post Office in the last three months? How much do we rely on text and email? How many of us rely on Amazon Prime for every little thing? Many of your preferences, including your favorite brand of toilet paper is online at Amazon or Freshdirect or some other online service.
How about the more important information, like your birth/marriage/divorce certificates, mortgage, death certificate – all of which is available in the records office of your County of Residence!
These laws of public disclosure were created to find heirs to kingdoms and duchy’s and so forth and these laws date back to the 12th century!
It’s just that it was much harder to travel 100’s of miles on a mule or a horse carriage to the County records office, but, now, these records are available with the push of a few buttons.
I am providing some examples of records of places I own, live or work. This handwritten deed was written on March 10, 1838. At this time it was rods and perches before acres and now LAT/LONG. The record offices had people who can write out your document or contract so that it could be recorded.
Property Information from NYState’s Dutchess County
You can search New York City’s Building Department Database (BIS) with a whole host of variables… The NYC buildings department converted records in/around 1970.
Now that you know most of your information is of public record and increasingly online…
Items such as birth/marriage/death certificate, deed/stock certificates, social security card, Passports, Wills and Legal documents are the most likely items that need to be available in original issued format. If you don’t have the original, you can request copies from the vital records office of the County you live in or lived in when the event took place.
In fact, a copy or digital record may speed up the process of getting a “new Original”. As State’s switch their systems to digital over time, you may not need these in original format.
It is very beneficial and possible to digitize all of your important information for several reasons:
- It’s accessible when you need it
- You can search for it using keywords or tags
- You can share it easily with family members and advisors
- Easy to prepare for taxes, mortgages, school applications and filling out long forms
- Easy to prepare for a financial planner, estate planner or other professional advisor who will require a lot of information from you.
- Saves time sorting mail, organizing and maintaining paper files
- Always have your information in case of fire, flood, evacuation, emergency, etc.
Beats calling your spouse to get the information when you can easily login and get it! Or, worse – going back home? Have you done this before?
Next week, we’ll review some steps about how you can start getting your information organized and online.
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