5 Documents You Don’t Want to Lose


We now live in a mostly digital age, where obtaining backups of important documents is easy. However, that doesn’t change a fundamental truth: some records we simply cannot afford to lose and may not be able to be easily replaced. 

Here’s a look at five documents that you must do everything you can to maintain and where you can replace them if you do lose them:

Social Security Cards

Every American citizen has a nine-digit social security number. This number is vital for applying for government benefits, loans, new jobs, and more. Losing your social security card can be a huge pain, and if you do, you may have to apply for a new one online or in-person via the Social Security Administration.

Many people are also confused about the nature of your social security card and number, and there seems to be some common confusion. For example, many ask: “Do social security cards expire or not?” Thankfully, they don’t, and if you never lose it, the card you get at your birth will be good for the rest of your life. 

Wills and Related Legal Documents

You will always need a copy of your will and any other related legal documents, ensuring that people know what to do if something happens to you. Of course, the purpose of a will is to ensure that your survivors know how to deal with your remains and carry out your final wishes. As such, it is not only crucial that you keep a copy of your will in a safe place, but that your family, loved ones, and executors always fully understand where these documents are! Otherwise, they will be of no good to anyone.

Birth Certificate

Yes, it can be a pain, but having a physical copy of your birth certificate is very important. You may need it to obtain various important other documents, like a new social security card or a Real ID. If you do not know where a copy of your birth certificate is, you should try to obtain one as soon as possible, as this process may take weeks or months. You can always use the internet or contact your local appropriate government officials, but you may need to get assistance from a local state legislator if you are having trouble getting a copy of your birth certificate. These offices are often skilled at cutting through government red tape to get you the services you need.

Your Passport

Your passport is required for foreign travel. You should always make sure that you not only have a copy of it but that it is valid and that you are on top of renewing it as needed. Like your birth certificate, getting a new copy of your passport can be difficult, so you must start early if you cannot locate it. Furthermore, in some cases, your passport can be used in lieu of other documents – like a driver’s license – for identification purposes.

Financial Documents

If you don’t have a digital backup, you should always keep physical copies of various important financial documents. This includes tax returns and bank statements. More and more companies – and people – are starting to shift to digital distribution of these documents, so you should make sure to confirm you at least have a digital copy and backup of any of these essential records.