New Year’s To Do List #4 – Update Your Snatch File


Make sure your “Snatch File” is up to date.  There may be a time when you need to snatch your important papers and make a quick getaway.  Maybe your home is on fire. Maybe your spouse surprised you with a restraining order. Or maybe The Man has finally tracked you down, you one-armed bastage! Whatever the case – Are you ready to snatch & skedaddle ASAP?

Ever think about what you’d grab in a fire? In my case, I’d grab my photo albums, my computer, and my cats Mr. Tibbers and Mimi Fah-Foo of Charmaine. Okay, I don’t have cats. But if I did, that’s what they’d be called. Oh, and I’d grab my snatch file.

A snatch file serves another purpose as well. It can inform your loved ones where all your stuff is in case you can’t. This is very handy especially if you are a geezer who is circling the drain. Let’s not forget that people of all ages get into accidents and never come home. If you die tomorrow, what chance does your family have to figure out your stuff?

I hear some of you out there, “What do I care about all that stuff? I’ll be dead!” Well, maybe you prepaid for your funeral arrangements. Who is going to know that? Maybe you have union, pension or other benefits that you want to pass along to your family. Maybe you had an account no one knew about, or some get-a-way money in a fireproof box under the floorboards. Why send them on a scavenger hunt when they may not know exactly what it is they are looking for or when to stop looking?

You can have a physical file with all your stuff in it, but this is 2019. I suggest having a digital snatch file. Gather all your important info, scan and/or snap photos of documents and shoot ’em into the cloud and/or throw them on a thumb drive. If you are snapping photos, make sure they are crystal clear. iPhones may be smart, but they are stupid enough to snap out-of-focus pics. Blurry is no bueno. Make sure you let your loved ones know where your cyber-snatch file is. Let your heirs know if you back-up your computer to someplace off-site and have a copy of your snatch file in The Cloud.

I back-up my computer with Carbonite. Not only can I download every file that I have backed up anywhere there is an internet connection, but I can also use the app on my phone to access everything I stashed in the Carbonite Cloud. Recently, I was up for a job and had to prove I had a passport. A minute later I had it via my Carbonite phone app.

I scan documents with my Canon Pixma. After they are backed up, I shred them with my Aurora shredder. Both have lasted me years.

What Should Be In My Snatch File?

  • Internet Usernames and Passwords
  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Bank info – Account & Routing numbers
  • Credit & Debit cards – Scan front and back for security code and phone numbers
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Papers
  • Car Title, Registration, Insurance info, License plate number
  • Tax Returns – ask your accountant for PDFs of these
  • Safe Deposit Box, Storage Unit, P.O. Boxes, and Safes – where are they and where are the keys & combinations?
  • Burglar Alarm Code
  • Prescription info
  • Pet Licenses, Veterinarian and Medication info
  • Location of Keys for Everything
  • Burial information
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Health Insurance Policies & Cards
  • Attorney & Accountant Contact info
  • Power of Attorney (Health Care & Durable POAs)
  • Living Trust
  • Will
  • Living Will
  • Video of your property. In case of fire or theft this may help your claim.

Those are some of the biggies. Erik Dewey’s Big Book of Everything is a very thorough notebook of things you may want to compile for your Snatch File. Download it for free here. If you own a home, Mark Gavagan’s 12 Critical Things Your Family Needs to Know suggests that you look at your house as if you were renting it to strangers for the summer and needed to leave instructions.

Although my password file has all my reward club information in it, there is a handy (and free) website and app I use that collects all of my reward programs in one place.  It is called AwardWallet. You can sign up for AwardWallet by clicking here. It gathers rewards points from all programs you can imagine. It culls everything from airline miles, hotels, rental cars, dining, and more. You can even create a custom program. This is a pretty handy way to see all of your rewards in one place so you can choose your best option. You can also track multiple peoples’ accounts, which makes it perfect for a family to use.

If you want more information on Living Trusts, Wills, Living Wills, etc., check out my posts on these topics:


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