There are a number of documents you need to keep in a safe place where you can find them when needed. It is a good idea to keep important records in a waterproof and fire-proof box.
The records to keep in a safe place include:
Keep unpaid bills until paid. Keep paid bills (power, water, phone) and current bank statements until you get the next statement. Keep information you need for income taxes, such as real estate taxes, medical bills, marriage certificates, for 3 years.
It is also a good idea to keep copies of house keys, car keys, and other keys you may need.
Your child's birth certificate is legal proof of date of birth and citizenship. The birth certificate is needed to start school, to get a driver's license, or to get a passport. It may also be needed to prove the right to vote, marry, get Social Security benefits, travel on an airplane, and to inherit property.
The staff at the hospital where your baby is born will register the birth with the local health department or registrar of births. If you have a home birth, be sure someone registers the birth.
You will receive notice when the birth record is filed. This notice is usually a copy of the registration or the birth certificate. Check to make sure the information is correct. Call the health department to get any mistakes fixed right away.
Make a few copies of the birth certificate. Keep at least one in a safe place like a safety deposit box.
Most hospitals will give you the forms you need to get a Social Security card and number for your baby. You can also get the form and instructions online at http://www.ssa.gov. A Social Security number is needed to be claimed as a dependent on your tax return, to open a bank account, or to buy savings bonds. Some schools and government agencies may also require that you provide this number.
You should have accurate health records for all members of the family. They are useful when you apply for health and life insurance. They also help healthcare providers know if certain diseases run in your family.
The family health records should include:
You should carry some records with you when you leave the house: