Planning ahead is a wise move regardless of what age you are. Typically, getting your affairs in order becomes more of a priority when you reach those senior years. Planning for the future and for the uncertainties the future may hold is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family.
Getting organized should be high on your priority list. It’s a step you can do on your own but it may be one of the more time-consuming projects you do. As part of your organization plan, you need to compile pertinent information in an easily understandable manner and file it away in a safe place. The personal records you include in your “important papers” file should include basic information such as your name, social security number, birthplace and date, the names and addresses of close family members and friends and a current list of your medications. You should also include the name, address and telephone number of your attorney, financial advisor and any other professional who handles aspects of your personal or financial life.
- What to do: Start an important papers file
- Documents with basic information such as legal name, SSN, birthplace, birthdate
- Copies of personal identification such as passport, driver’s license, Social Security card
- Names and contact info for close family members and friends
- Names and contact info for your attorney, financial advisor, doctor, etc.
- Current list of medications
It is generally best to seek advice from an estate planning attorney to assist you with the designation of a property power of attorney, the preparation of a will, establishing a trust and all other similar decisions. Estate planning attorneys can guide you through a myriad of financial planning options. It’s in your best interest to designate someone to act as power of attorney if the times comes when you are unable to manage your finances.
- What to do: Find an estate planning attorney
- What to look for in an attorney:
- Experience in designation of power of attorney
- Will preparation
- Establishing a trust fund and other similar financial decisions
Health Care Planning
Included in those previously mentioned “important papers’ should be a health care directive or medical directive and a living will. These documents can give you peace of mind by assuring that you have someone to act on your behalf if you are not able to make decisions regarding health care.
Once you’ve done all you can do to get your affairs in order, it’s extremely important that you store your carefully organized information and legal documents in a safe place. It’s a good idea to have two copies of everything and to store those copies in two different locations. Make sure that a trusted family member knows where this information is located. You might want to give a copy of your medicines, name and telephone number of your health care providers to a family member to keep in case of an emergency.
- What to do: Create a health care or medical directive and living will
- Keep all medical and other important documents safe
- Have copies of documents in case of an accident or loss
- Make sure that your attorney has access to these documents
- Make sure trusted family member know where documents are located
Having all of these plans in place, ensures the process of caring for estate will be smoother and quicker.