With the end of the year coming, it is a great time to start organizing. Organizing does not just mean getting things cleaned out of an attic or garage. It also means gathering and organizing the important documents that become more important as we age. Many parents do not share with their children where they keep important documents, stock certificates, deeds and the like. So when it comes time for the kids to “help” Mom or Dad, they may not remember everything as well as they should. This could make for very difficult times indeed for the family trying to sort things out to assist or take care of an aging relative.
Documents should be updated regularly, such as wills, living wills, health care powers, estate plans, insurance policies and retirement plans and the title and beneficiary designations that go along with them. Some outline which reflects current circumstances as well as how you desire to be cared for in the event of disability is critical. Sometimes people haven’t looked at these documents for several years, and with all the changes that are going on today, reviewing these documents becomes ever more critical. Sometimes laws have changed and people aren’t aware of the impact that will have on them.
After compiling these documents, they should be stored properly and you should let someone you trust know where these documents are located. Also, passwords to computers, lock boxes and keys and online accounts should be stored in a secure location, and someone whom you trust should have access to that information should the need arise. The following should be kept:
- A list of doctors, dentists and other medical providers
- Medications and dosages
- Name and number of pharmacy
- Copies of all health insurance cards and policies
- All insurance policies
- Retirement plans
- Investment accounts
- Mortgages and Deeds
- Estate and health plan documents
Organizing your documents not only gives you the opportunity to locate them and have them easily accessible when needed, but also affords the opportunity to update them for things that have changed. You will have the peace of mind that you can find important documents if necessary, and enlist the aid of someone to help you when that time comes.