Is it Possible to Replace Lost Documents?

Lost documents
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It is possible to replace many lost documents.

Losing essential items or documents is pretty common.

When people move or clear out files and papers in their homes, sometimes important documents sneak into the mix as little stowaways.

This can cause problems when these documents are later required for applications or approvals.

According to a recent AARP article titled “You’ve Lost an Important Document. Now What?,” some documents may be easier to replace than others.

Lost documents are often replaceable.
Missing or stolen passports should be reported as lost documents.

What should you do if you have lost documents?


Often passports are misplaced or stolen during travel.

If this happens to you, report the lost or stolen property by going to to fill out Form DS-64.

This form can also be printed and mailed to the U.S. State Department.

A report can also be made by calling 877-487-2778.

Form DS-11 must be submitted to a passport office in person to request a replacement passport be issued.

Birth certificate.

If you identify your birth certificate as a lost document, you should contact the office of vital records in the state where you were born to order a replacement.

Since you were the one who was “certified” as being born, you are guaranteed access to this vital record.

Marriage certificate.

States have different rules regarding how a lost marriage certificate can be replaced.

You will need to reach out to the clerk of the county where your marriage license was issued.

This office will instruct you on the documents you need and how much you must pay for a new copy.

Depending on the county, the office may offer mail, online, or in-person options.

Social Security card.

The Social Security card is one of the lost documents least necessary to replace.

Often the physical card is not necessary.

The card is essential if your state requires a Real ID application or you are beginning a new job.

Applying for a replacement card requires a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, or state-issued identification card.

Applications can be completed on the Social Security website, by mail, or at a local Social Security office.

There are generally no costs to replace a lost Social Security card.

Last Will.

State law governs what happens with lost estate planning documents.

Again, state law governs.

What if your last will and testament is misplaced or accidentally destroyed rather than revoked?

When you die, a copy must be submitted to the court and proof that the last will has not been revoked.

This can include proof of it being lost or accidentally disrupted.

An impartial third party can also testify you did not plan to change your document.

Heirs must prove the last will is a true copy.

Typically, the attorney or witness to the document signing can confirm this.

Car Title.

Like most advice regarding replacing lost documents, the process and requirements for a new car title vary by state.

You can contact your Department of Motor Vehicles to learn your specific requirements.

Some may require a form to be submitted and a vehicle registration, registration renewal notice, or photo ID.

Although it is possible to replace lost documents, it can also be a pain.

Taking time to organize and secure your important documents can save you and your loved ones time and stress later.

Reference: AARP (Feb. 14, 2023 ) “You’ve Lost an Important Document. Now What?”

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