Recent Blog Post : Financial Planning 7: Emergency Fund planning. Click here to view

Document your assets and liabilities


How many of us are systematic in document filing and protection?

All of us must identify and protect key documents in such a way that it’s easy to retrieve when needed without any confusion. For that, first you need to classify your documents and keep it in separate files at one place. You need to have a space in your shelf to keep all these – at the same time, make sure it not within easy reach of children.

Now, let’s have a check at what are those important documents.

  1. Financial documents like bank records, loan records, investments.
  2. Documents of assets you bought like warranty cards.
  3. Documents related to your health & education
  4. Personal documents.
  5. A summary of all these in written form- in a diary.

Financial documents : These include documents –

  • Connected with bank  – pass book, statements, locker allotment letter, locker keys, ATM cards, passwords, cheque books etc
  • Loan documents – sanction letter, copies of documents pledged at the bank, a certificate from the bank listing the original documents with them, EMI chart, periodic loan statements etc.

It’s important to print quarterly statement of your account and check the charges debited. You must check whether the bank is properly carrying out your auto debit instructions. You must also have an idea about the type of account you are maintaining with the bank-whether it’s a zero balance account or whether it requires a minimum balance to be kept. As far as passwords of your net banking and Debit cards are concerned, you have to make sure that the card number is written and kept your diary and a single but complicated password is required to be memorized.

If you have availed loan from any bank, a copy of the loan application form submitted to the bank is the first document you have to keep. 99% of us don’t have this vital record. If you couldn’t do this because of circumstances – take a picture of the application form on your mobile phone. Keep a list of documents submitted to the bank. When your loan gets sanctioned, your sanction letter will contain the list of documents submitted by you as per bank records.  This check list becomes extremely useful years later, when you pay off all the liabilities and ask the documents back. Keep a certified photo copy of property documents that’s pledged with the bank. Generally the title deed, prior deed, land tax receipt, building tax receipt, location and possession certificate would be with the bank.

Apart from that, keep the original of the Loan sanction letter and EMI chart. Ask for periodic loan repayment statement- this will help you to check whether the bank is charging your loan account with any extra charges. If you have insured your loan- documents related to insurance. In case you pre pay the loan – you would have given post dated cheques or an auto debit instruction through ECS. In both the cases, make sure that you demand the balance cheques or cancel the auto debit instruction with your bank.

After finishing off your obligations with the bank, there are two more important documents to be obtained and filed-

  • Loan closure letter and
  • a full repayment track.

Years later, when you apply for your next loan this letter may become handy.

Documents of other assets: these include documents of –

  • Assets in hand- land documents, bills of gold/ silver  purchased, bills of other expensive assets that have resale value ( like cars) warranty cards of expensive electronic equipments, general insurance policies taken to protect such assets etc..
  • Mutual fund statements, shares

Land and building is usually the most valuable assets people own. The original title deed along with related documents such as possession certificate, location certificate, building and land tax receipts etc should be kept in a separate file. Keep a video record of the entire property.

In the case of shares and mutual funds, keep clear record of mutual funds, shares, insurance etc you hold. You may also have money invested in your spouse’s or children’s name.

A clear list (with bills) of gold and diamonds especially if it is kept in the bank locker is to be maintained.

As far as other assets like phones, mobile phones, calculators, fans & air conditioners, televisions, music systems, computers, furniture, oven, refrigerator, washing machines & dish washers, grinders, watches etc..the most important document is the warranty card with the dealer’s stamp on it and the bill. These bills and warranty cards are easy to get misplaced if you don’t put it in a separate file. Assuming that you have the above mentioned assets with you – you must have at least 15-20 warranty cards and bills with you,  if you have filed it in one place.

The importance of these documents arises when the equipment you bought doesn’t deliver the performance that was expected within the warranty period.

Documents related to health & education: These include documents such as-

  • Health insurance, medical reports, hospital OP cards, educational certificates etc..

Personal documents: These include documents such as –

  • ID proofs, passport, driving license, PAN card, Power of attorneys, employment cards, life insurance policies, birth certificates etc..

Although we were talking about protecting financial documents, there are other categories of documents which are equally important -This would include identity cards, licenses, PAN card, passport, voter’s ID, employment card etc..

  • The above records of the entire family can be preserved in one file.
  • This collection can also include few passport size photographs.
  • Hospital registration cards of your family
  • Phone numbers of your doctor and the hospital where you do regular check up.
  • Other documents like your baby’s stem cell protection certificates, x-rays etc..Every document that’s got to do with your family’s health should be in one file.
  • Your education certificates – right from 12th to your professional degree to additional certifications and diplomas – including a copy of the syllabus covered needs to be preserved.

Summary in written form.

Although everything is in place, you still need to write down the details in a dairy and keep it for ready reference. For example -All your bank accounts numbers – bank and branch address, details about the nominee, Credit card numbers, Details about all the insurance policies you hold- this should also include certain type of polices that comes free with certain financial products. If you can Keep track of all your investment commitments in a diary or planner, it would help you to be systematic in yearly payments.


Leave a Reply