By Amanda Mitchell, AFC® Candidate
Military life consists of coming to terms with the lack of control you have over most situations you find yourself in. For me, this was one of the hardest parts of being a military spouse. I like to feel in control. I want to know what is happening when it’s happening, and how. Unfortunately for military families, knowing these things is not always possible. Over the years, though, I have discovered that organization in key areas of your life can drastically improve your quality of life. While you cannot always have control, you can make sure that you are prepared for whatever is thrown your way. Preparedness and organization are excellent substitutes for lack of control. One of the best things that I have done that helped me be prepared is creating my family MILDOCS binder. I have discussed other sections of MILDOCS binders in other blogs, and you can find them here. However, today we are going to discuss the “meat and bones” portion of your MILDOCS family binder, your personal records.
The personal records section of your binder is more of a sweeping category that consists of several sub-sections. Sections included in your personal records are:
- Personal Financials
- Real Property
- Medical & Dental Records
- School Records
Let’s take a look at each!
First, download the MILDOCS checklist here. In this section, you should include the following:
- Financial account information: bank, credit union, brokers, and other investments (401k, IRA, TSP, etc.)
- Include account numbers and the name of the institution
- Most recent end-of-year statements
- Account beneficiary information
- *Pro-Tip* If your account information is easily accessible through your bank’s website, consider only including the routing number. This adds another layer of protection to sensitive information.
- Leave and earning statement (LES)/Paystub:
- *Pro-Tip* Before you leave your current duty station for the next, make sure you print off the most recent LES; you may need it during in-processing. If your household goods have already left, use your installations library.
- Tax Returns – State/Federal (most recent):
- *Pro-Tip* Back up all of your returns to an external hard drive and carry that with you.
- Social security disability insurance
- Savings bonds or electronic bond information
- Safe-deposit box information
- Any other investment account information
- Location of usernames and passwords
Print your real property checklist here. In this section, you will include information about any real estate that you own or rent. Be sure to include the following:
- Mortgage documents:
- *Pro-Tip* If you own rental properties, add a section specifically for them.
- Lease agreements
- Renters/Homeowners insurance
- Flood insurance
- Tax documents
Print your Vehicle checklist here. This section will include all of your documents for each vehicle you own, including motorcycles and ATVs. Having these documents in hand is especially important when you have a vehicle shipped overseas or when something like a motorcycle is shipped with your household goods. Be sure to include the following in this section:
- Loan/Lease/Purchase Agreements
- Titles and VINs
- Copies of Insurance Cards
- Copies of Registration
- Warranty Information
- *Pro-Tip* If you have a vehicle that has been shipped, make sure you take pictures and include specific information about the condition of your vehicle. Note any damage and the milage.
Download your insurance checklist here. It is important to keep your insurance documents handy because you never know when you may need them. In this section, include the following:
- Health Insurance
- Government Health Card & ID Cards (Medicaid/Medicare)
- Long-Term Care
- Supplemental Insurance (Echo, Tricare for Life, Aflac)
Medical & Dental Records
Download your Medical & Dental Records checklist here. Include the following in this section:
- Provider Name/Contact Information: Make sure to include any specialists that you or your family members may see.
- Immunization Records:
- *Pro-Tip* Update this every time a new vaccination is given. If when you receive a vaccination card, often provided when you get the flu shot, make sure you include those as well. Sometimes they do not make it to the full vaccination record.
- X-rays/Date of X-rays: Having copies of prior treatments and dental x-rays will help you to minimize costs when you change providers.
- Recent Dental Appointment Dates
- Copies of Civilian Healthcare Provider Documents: Obtain copies of records for any off-installation providers you have seen.
- List of Medications and Prescriptions
- Sports/School Physical Records
Download your School Records checklist here. Moving frequently means your child will likely attend a few different schools throughout their school careers. Organizing their important school documents will help you streamline the transition process and ensure you have all the documents needed to enroll your child at their new school. Make sure to include the following:
- Report Cards
- Test Scores
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) Information
- *Pro-Tip* If your child receives any special services (specialized education, gifted programs, etc.), include any notes you have from their instructor or any progression reports.