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Military Life

Documents You Can Never Afford to Lose


There are certain times of year when you think about getting things organized. It’s a natural thing to do when the weather starts to change. That goes for reviewing and organizing your important documents, too. If you aren’t in the habit of keeping them where you can find them, and up to date, now is a great time to get everything together.

In an era when so many things have become 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. For those either in the military or who have transitioned from the military, your list of “very important documents” is even longer. And it’s a list filled with information that could prove beneficial later in life — to you and your loved ones.

If you think about it, documents accompany most major life events — from birth to death and everything in between. That makes it vital to maintain these significant forms in a secure place that your family can locate and access whenever necessary.

As an AAFMAA Member, you have access to your own secure Digital Vault where you can upload and store all of your essential documents. Doing so means they will be instantly accessible to you 24/7.

But digital versions of your documents isn’t all you should store safely. You should also gather and store your original documents where you and your family can find them.

Which documents should be in your Digital Vault?

Below is a list of documents to gather and secure:

  • DD Form 214
  • All VA Disability Award Letters and VA Rating Decisions
  • Latest/Final LES/Retired Pay Statement
  • Marriage/Divorce Documents
  • Birth Certificates for your family (and Death Certificates, if applicable)
  • Legal Documents (Wills, Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Estate Plans)
  • Social Security cards for spouses and children
  • Current Social Security Benefits Statement (can be obtained from Social Security Administration)
  • Insurance policy documents with up-to-date beneficiary information
  • Financial statements, and all passwords/access information for any financial accounts
  • Investment statements, such as a TSP, IRA, etc.

Equally as important as having these forms and certificates accessible is keeping the information on them completely up to date, especially where beneficiaries are concerned. Should something happen to you or them, it could complicate the process of applying for and receiving benefits you’ve earned.

Take a few minutes now to get things in order. Then keep your loved ones informed on where, what, and how they can access the information they may need. It will provide all of you with the peace of mind to enjoy life’s seasons to the fullest.

If you would like our help making any changes to the documents you have on file in your Digital Vault, or if you have any other questions, please contact AAFMAA Member Benefits at 1-800-522-5221. You may also send an email to [email protected].

This article was originally published December 17, 2015.

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