I read this article about protecting your vital documents way back in June and just remembered it last night when I was going through my saved WSJ articles. I think it offers some helpful advice on backing up documents digitally.
1. Take inventory of all vital documents.
In one group, include crucial items such as car titles, wills, powers of attorney, life-insurance policies, medical directives, deeds, licenses, and pension and retirement-plan documents.
In another group, include items you probably will never need but might want to archive, such as old tax returns, brokerage statements and records of when you established individual retirement accounts.
2. Make copies of everything.
The most practical way to duplicate files nowadays is to scan them. It takes little more time than making photocopies, and will save you from ever needing to make or mail a copy again.
We bought a new HP printer less than a year ago. I have to say that the new technology makes scanning MUCH quicker than it used to be. Our printer (HP Officejet Pro 8600 Premium) was pricey but I’m sure there are cheaper printers that would do just as good of a job. The process is relatively pain-free.
3. Store electronically.
The author recommends storing documents on a cloud server via a service like Dropbox, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google’s Google Drive, or Apple’s iCloud. They recommend password-protecting files, which can be a pain. One other option is VaultWorthy, which uses encryption to store files. The service costs $12.95 a month and lets users store up to 50 documents on their servers. Kind of pricey but might be worth it.
Something to think about.