The holiday season provides many of us the gift of time away from our daily duties. With days out of the office and more time to spend with the people you love, it’s the perfect opportunity to organize all the crucial documents in your life and make sure that everyone in your family is on the same page in the event of an emergency - or any other unexpected event.
In an era when everything seems electronic and people rarely put pen to paper, it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of documents required for all the big steps in life. Documents accompany most major life events – from birth to death, to everything in between. You should have all these significant forms in a secure place that your family can locate and access whenever necessary.
Take the time this season to identify, locate and store all your major self-identification and financial documents in a safe place. Note: You should have both original documents as well as digital copies secured properly and accessible to your family. For digital storage, please look into AAFMAA’s Digital Vault.
Below is a list of documents to gather and secure if you already haven’t:
o DD Form 214
o VA Disability Award Letters and VA Rating Decisions
o Latest/Final LES/Retired Pay Statement
o Marriage/Divorce Documents
o Birth Certificates for your family (and Death Certificates, if applicable)
o Legal Documents (Wills, Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Estate Plans)
o Social Security Cards for spouses and children
o Current Social Security Benefits Statement (can be obtained from Social Security Administration)
o Insurance policy documents with up-to-date beneficiary information
o Financial statements, and all passwords/access information for any financial accounts
Equally as important as having these forms and certificates accessible is keeping the information on them completely up-to-date. If you have children, change your VA disability award, and/or change your beneficiary on a life insurance policy, for example, it is important to ensure your file is updated.
For those AAFMAA Grandfathered or Premier Services members, please provide complete and current documents to our Member Benefits Team. If you are not currently a Grandfathered or Premier Services member, click here to learn more about AAFMAA’s Premier Services, which includes access to our Digital Vault and as well as transition assistance, and VA benefit analysis and claim preparation for current and former servicemembers. You can enroll through our website by clicking here.
Having these simple things in order, and keeping your loved ones informed will provide peace of mind to you and your family – through the holidays and as you start fresh in the New Year. AAFMAA wishes you happy holidays and a joyful start to your 2016.
To make any changes to your documents, or for any questions, please contact AAFMAA Member Benefits at 1-888-961-5427 (and select Option 2), or send an email to [email protected].