One Word That Changes Everything

(At least on important documents)

Have you ever had one of those experiences at the DMV, post office, bank or county clerk’s office?  The kind of experience that makes you want to scream in frustration because even though you thought you had everything you needed to process your documents, you were missing ONE important detail? Or what about having everything you needed, only to show up on a Monday, and it just so happens to be closed on Mondays? Or upon your arrival during your one hour lunch break, you realize the line is as long as the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World. (I apologize in advance for getting “It’s a Small World” stuck in your head.)

I cringe just thinking about it. Those memories, I mean. Well, the memories and maybe the song, too.

With the many hours I have logged working on important documents, I have learned one important word that changes everything. If you are married and have a relationship based upon honesty and integrity, then this tip is for you!

When filling out any sort of official paperwork, applications, financial documents, and when writing checks, the word ‘OR’ changes everything. As in…

Daniel OR Emily Tardy
versus
Daniel AND Emily Tardy

The ‘OR’ means that either one of you can sign, make most changes, have access to, or make decisions about the documents without having the other party present. If ‘AND’ is listed, in most instances, you both have to be present. Use some common sense with this, too. You don’t want to fill out a new family health insurance application to provide coverage for you OR your spouse unless you are getting completely separate policies. You both need coverage. Additionally, when you purchase or sell a car together, it is extremely helpful to have the flexibility to sign the title without the other spouse present. Your assets and property are still legally considered joint marital property under the Uniform Marriage Property Act if they are acquired during your marriage, no matter if they are titled ‘AND’ or ‘OR.’

I will never forget waiting in a long line at the county clerk’s office during my lunch break to get my vehicle registered in the state of Tennessee, only to find out that my husband was required to be there and sign something because our vehicle title said Daniel and Emily Tardy. It took another couple of weeks before we both could be there at the same time and take care of this important legal matter. Did I mention the County Clerk was located 45 minutes away from my office? What an unnecessary waste of our time, energy and resources that distracted us from making the most impact in our daily lives!

So next time, when purchasing a vehicle, opening an account, writing a check, or filling out applications, consider using the simple word ‘OR’ to save you time, help you both be more productive, and free you up to focus on the things that really matter.

Join The Conversation: Have you used the word ‘OR’ to help make your life easier and more efficient? Do you know another tip to help us with documents and paperwork? You can leave a comment by clicking here.