Investment: Closed Bank Account Letters

InvestmentFor only having 5 categories in File Box 3, I feel like it is taking so long to progress through this file box which is partly due to the interruptions in December and January. In spite of the delays, we will complete the investment documents category today. 🙂

The following is a recap of the documents housed within the two file openings of our accordion filing box holding our investment documents:

Fourth File Slot

Fifth File Slot

  • Closed bank account letters

Closed Bank Account Letters

When I was organizing our important documents, this category never crossed my mind. In her Protection Portfolio, Suze Orman designates a slot for closed bank accounts.

In thinking through all the financial institutions where I held accounts, I had assumed the accounts were closed when I withdrew all the money. However, I did not have letters confirming those accounts were closed.

Requesting Closed Bank Account Letters

This process took some time as I contacted each financial institution for both Paul and I. Together we had 8 accounts with some of them banks and others credit unions. Then I took the following steps:

1. Located the account numbers for each financial institution (e.g., consulted checks, bank statements, and correspondence),

2. Contacted each financial institution,

3. Verified that our account was closed,

4. Requested a letter stating the account was closed by consumer,

5. Received the letter via mail, fax, or e-mail, and

6. Filed the closed bank account letters within our file box 3.

Obstacles Gaining Closed Bank Account Letters

Though it sounds easy to just contact the company, I did run into these obstacles along way:

1. Account information had been purged from the financial institution

After a few rounds of trying to get a letter, I finally spoke to a vice president at the main branch who sent a letter stating that we no longer had any open accounts and included our social security numbers as the account numbers could not be verified.

2. Needed our request in writing

Upon calling some of our financial institutions, they required our request in writing. I composed a letter and mailed it to the bank or credit union. I chose not to fax as our social security numbers were on the document, and I did not know who had access to the fax machine.

FREEBIE: Should you need to provide a written request, you may use the following sample letter to make your inquiry:

Free printable Bank Account Closing Letter – WORD document format

3. Financial institution had a merger after the account was closed

For these accounts, the current financial institution did not have records from the previous bank. So, they provided a letter indicating the original account numbers from the previous bank and the new account numbers had been closed and, in one case, purged from their system.

4. No records found for the account numbers

One institution could not find any information, so they provided a letter stating that they were unable to locate any records.

Having the verification that all non-used accounts are closed, we know where our money rests. We also have confirmation that our other accounts are closed should an unauthorized transaction take place. The letters provide proof that the financial institution closed our account or has no open accounts with our names or social security numbers.

Weekly Project: Gather your closed bank account letters or contact financial institutions to receive closed bank account letters.

In organizing your important documents, you might find this step time-consuming. As I did not have any of these letters when I started organizing my file, I invested my time calling and writing to get this information. Now, I know that all our accounts are current with no outstanding fees or monies at other banks or credit unions.

This post brings our third category to a close. You have some time to work on this step as I will begin the fourth category in May. For April, I will try another month of themed posts. Look for more details in this Wednesday’s post.

Keep making progress. In using time wisely, your investment of time and energy will let you know exactly where your investments lie. Little by little your filing system is coming together. You are in the homestretch with only two more categories to go. Happy organizing!

Question: Do you typically request a closed bank account letter when changing financial institutions?

Investment: Paid-in-full Loan Documents

InvestmentIn our File Box 3, we have filed our Social Security documents and retirement documents.

The third category holds our investment documents housed in file slots four and five of our accordion filing system.

With our U.S. Treasury Savings Bonds, cash accounts, financial accounts for adults, financial accounts for children, and beneficiary designations filed in slot four, I turn to the first set of paperwork placed in the fifth opening – our paid-in-full loan documents.

Paid-in-full Loan Documents

This post is not to address whether or not one should take out a loan. Doing what is best for your family may look different from your ideal.

If you have never taken out a loan, then you can skip this section. Paul and I both had loans which we paid back and keep the records within our filing system.

Education Loans

Paul and I both had education loans. I carried my loans into our marriage from my undergraduate degree as I did not incur any additional loans from my graduate work. Once those two promissory notes were paid, we kept the paid receipts received from the providers.

When Paul needed additional education, we took out a loan with an interest-free payment plan. In paying off the loan early, we did not incur any interest charges. We keep the documents associated with this loan in our file as long as the record remains in our credit file.

Personal Loans

Coming into our marriage, Paul and I both had a personal loan. My grandmother sold me a vehicle when I was in school which I did not need to repay until after college. I began paying her back without interest when I graduated until we paid it in full.

I kept her handwritten receipt. I’m so thankful for this note as my grandmother passed away a little over a year ago. I know I have her handwriting in cards, but this note was an official receipt showcasing her beautiful handwriting.

Paul’s personal loan was from his parents for my engagement and wedding rings which we paid back in one lump sum.

Though I do not need to keep these two personal loan documents, I do. They remind me of our hard work in focusing on our debt and paying back what we borrowed. I still remember the great feeling when we wrote those last checks and became debt free.

Keeping these documents in the order in which we paid, I paperclip them together and place them in the fifth file opening under the third category of investment documents. When money gets tight, I enjoy looking at these documents as a reminder of how God provided during our very lean years.

Weekly Project: Locate and file your paid-in-full loan documents.

Next week, we will complete the investment documents category with closed bank account letters. Keep making progress as you create spaces for your important documents. May you find encouragement as you file your paid-in-full loan documents. Happy organizing!

Question: Do you find encouragement from looking at your paid-in-full loan paperwork?

Investment: Financial Institutions – Part 3 of 3

InvestmentThis past week, I brought file box 1 with me to start going through slot by slot checking that all the information is updated and current. Every time I thought I would get a few minutes to work, I ended up needing to address something else. Therefore, I will try again this coming week. 😉

If you are struggling finding time to organize your important documents, take a deep breath as this is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep this task on your radar.

Find a time that works for you. For me, I already spend time twice a month working to pay our bills, file documents, etc. During those times, I work on our important documents.

Just find what works for you. Don’t worry about the past. Just focus on what you can do this week.

Within our investment category, we have looked at U.S. Treasury Savings Bonds, cash accounts, documents for adult accounts, and documents for children’s accounts. For each of our cash accounts, we have a beneficiary designation form on file. Though each financial organization has their own process, of which you might need to ask, designating a beneficiary for each of your accounts protects your investment.

Part 3: Beneficiary Designations

Financial Institution #1

At our preferred financial institution, we designated our beneficiaries when we opened our accounts. The Payable-On-Death Account (POD) In Equal Shares form required the following information:

      • Account number
      • Account Suffix(es) – checking and savings
      • Account owner’s name
      • Account owner’s social security number
      • Primary beneficiary’s name, address, date of birth, social security number, and percentage of beneficiary (You can choose multiple primary beneficiaries, but the total must equal 100%.)
      • Contingent beneficiary’s name, address, date of birth, social security number, and percentage of beneficiary (You can also have multiple contingents – payable only if there is no surviving primary, but the total of the percentages must equal 100%.)
      • Signatures of all account holders

Upon setting up our estate planning documents, I submitted new Payable-On-Death Account (POD) In Equal Shares forms for each of our accounts to keep all the primary and contingent beneficiaries the same.

I keep a copy of those forms for verification. Also, I confirm our current designations annually by making a call and checking on each of our 5 accounts.

Financial Institution #2

For our second financial institution, we had to ask for beneficiary designation information. We were directed to the branch manager to get the proper Payable On Death Agreement which required the following details:

      • Account number
      • Account owner’s name and signature
      • Joint owner(s) name(s) and signature(s)
      • Primary beneficiary’s name, relationship to account holder, address, date of birth, social security number, and telephone number (For this institution, they do not usually authorize contingent beneficiaries. However, I adjusted the form indicating primary and contingent beneficiaries.)

Though I have not changed our beneficiary designations with our second financial institution, I still check annually to confirm that our designations have not been altered.

To protect our investments, we establish beneficiary designations on each of our accounts. Though some institutions automatically setup beneficiaries, you may need to research and ask for your designations.

As you organize your important documents, check for beneficiary designations for your investments. If you don’t find any, then contact your financial institution to inquire about their policy and how to designate your beneficiaries.

You have safeguarded your investments within your financial institution, so make sure those investments are there when you are no longer available. Happy designating!

Question: How does your financial institution handle beneficiary designations?

Investment: Financial Institutions – Part 2 of 3

InvestmentAs I pull out the documents in my file, I am finding more projects I need to do. (This series is not just for you. :-))

Though I have our important documents organized, some of these records are outdated, or I have old copies stashed within the bundles. The initial setup took the longest as I had to gather all the documents, but the paperwork continues to change and requires maintenance.

In taking it one step at a time, progress happens. Last week, we concentrated on the paperwork for our adult account investments at financial institutions. This week, I turn to the documents kept for our children’s accounts.

Part 2: Documents for Children’s Accounts

With each of our three children having a savings account at two different financial institutions, I keep the following documents in each bundle:

  • Membership Identification Card. The original card and a copy of the card displaying the membership number begins each bundle.
  • Contact information. For quick reference, the following information is included on the copy of the membership card document:
    • Protective Password
    • Website
    • Username
    • Password
    • Member number
    • PIN
  • Account Application. As my children are minors, I keep the documentation I used to open their accounts. This information includes the account number should I misplace the copy or the original membership card.
  • Correspondence. Any additional information, including joint members and beneficiary designations, is filed after the account application.

For each account, I paperclip these items together. I then place the bundles in the following order:

    • Financial Institution #1: Paul’s account
    • Financial Institution #1: Tracy’s account
    • Financial Institution #1: Child 1’s account
    • Financial Institution #1: Child 2’s account
    • Financial Institution #1: Child 3’s account
    • Financial Institution #2: Paul’s account
    • Financial Institution #2: Tracy’s account
    • Financial Institution #2: Child 1’s account
    • Financial Institution #2: Child 2’s account
    • Financial Institution #2: Child 3’s account

When I need to access the information, I can choose which financial institution I need, and then locate the account by the owner. Keeping our documents in this same order throughout the filing system frees me to get the document rather than sifting through loose paper.

Getting these documents organized is not easy. It takes time and effort as each little bundle requires verification, on-line setup for some accounts, and recording the information. Take it slowly to get the information correct. Keep making progress while using time wisely. Happy organizing!

Question: How is your document organization coming along?

Investment: Financial Institutions – Part 1 of 3

Investment In organizing our important documents, we have reached the investment category. Last week, documenting our cash accounts using the free printable provides a complete list for quick reference.

The rest of the documents within my investment category, housed in the fourth file opening of Box 3 of our important documents, are separate bundles for each account.

My bundles include the following:

  • Financial Institution #1: Paul’s account
  • Financial Institution #1: Tracy’s account
  • Financial Institution #1: Child 1’s account
  • Financial Institution #1: Child 2’s account
  • Financial Institution #1: Child 3’s account
  • Financial Institution #2: Paul’s account
  • Financial Institution #2: Tracy’s account
  • Financial Institution #2: Child 1’s account
  • Financial Institution #2: Child 2’s account
  • Financial Institution #2: Child 3’s account
  • Business Accounts

In breaking down these bundles with each type of document I keep, I have chosen to separate these posts into three parts:

  • Part 1: Documents for Adult Accounts
  • Part 2: Documents for Children’s Accounts
  • Part 3: Beneficiary Designations

Part 1: Documents for Adult Accounts

For each adult account, of which we have 4 with checking and savings on each, I keep the following documents in each bundle:

  • Copy of the front and signed back of the primary account holder’s debit card. In the event I misplace or have the card stolen, I will have the information to report the card to our financial institution. For debit cards we do not use often, we choose not to carry them in our wallets. I keep those debit cards attached to the bundle.
  • PIN information for the primary card. The Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued with the card was sent separate from the card itself. I keep the PIN correspondence behind the copy of the debit card.
  • Copy of the front and signed back of secondary holder’s debit card. As I have a debit card for Paul’s account and he has one for my account, each of our personal accounts has two cards issued. As the secondary card is different from the primary card, I keep this copy behind the PIN documentation from the primary card holder. If I do not carry the debit card in my wallet, then I attach it to the copy of the card. If you have additional authorized users, any documentation you have should be added within the bundle.
  • PIN information for the secondary card. The second card is issued a separate PIN. That documentation is housed behind the copy of that card.
  • Membership Identification Card. The original card and a copy of the card with the membership number and owner’s signature is kept behind the secondary card’s PIN information.
  • Contact information. I choose to write the following information on the copy of each debit card:
    • Protective Password
    • Website
    • Username
    • Password
    • Member number
    • PIN

Keeping this information with each account not only helps you find the information, but also your family should something happen to you. When you have a designated place, write down your usernames and passwords, and let someone know where that information is located. This one action will save your loved ones time, energy, and worry. Remember to update your list when you change your passwords or add accounts.

PROTECTIVE PASSWORDS: To help protect ourselves, I place a protective password on each account. I call each account provider and ask to put a password on the account. When I contact the financial institution regarding my account, the representative asks for my protective password in addition to the other personal information they request.

Having this password allows me to refuse giving out our Social Security Numbers for identification. I prefer the protective password since I can customize the word or phrase making it difficult for someone to commit identity theft.

  • Correspondence. Any information, including joint members and beneficiary designations, is filed after the membership identification paperwork.

To keep the information together and easy to find, I paperclip the primary debit card information together (the card, copy of the card, and PIN information). Then I paperclip the secondary debit card information (the card, copy of the card, and PIN information).

The membership identification card, copy, and correspondence are bound together with a third paperclip. Then I take these three packets and put one paperclip on all three. This bundle is one account within my file.

Yes, there is lots of paperwork in this file. The more accounts you have, the more bundles you will have. But by keeping them separate and organized, I can quickly find the documents I need. This system works for me. If this seems too complicated, then adjust it to meet your needs.

Weekly Project: Bundle your cash account documents.

In using time wisely, the goal is having the information within reach for the day you need to access it. Keep making progress. I know it takes time and energy, but the results are worth your investment. Happy organizing!

Question: How many cash accounts do you hold?