Planning for late life care isn’t something most people want to think about, but it is an important part of successful aging. It is your way of expressing your wishes for how you want to live the remainder of your life. Having certain documents in place gives you a voice when you aren’t able to speak for yourself. It also takes a burden off of your loved ones: they aren’t forced to make difficult choices and try to guess what you might want them to do in the midst of a crisis.
Important Documents All Adults Need
Here are 3 legal documents all adults need to have in place:
- Last Will & Testament: declares how you want your estate to be distributed.
- Financial Power of Attorney: authorizes a trusted friend or family member to make financial decisions when you are unable to.
- Health Care Power of Attorney: to give a friend or family member the authority to make decisions related to your health care.
Another document that can help you convey your end-of-life desires is a living will. In 42 states, including Illinois and Missouri, adults can use the Five Wishes guide to let their family members know what choices they want them to make.
Equally important to having a sound financial fitness plan later in life is to make certain that, in the event of an emergency, your loved ones can easily access important papers, accounts and information. Even if you don’t want to keep the original documents in your home – and in many cases you shouldn’t – having a list of where to find them will help. For example, if your tax returns are kept in a safe in the basement, indicate that and give one or two trusted family members the combination. Or if you keep the deed to your house and car in a safe deposit box, indicate where that is on your list.
In addition to the documents mentioned above, your loved ones will likely need to know:
-Who your creditors are, how much you owe and when each bill is due to be paid.
-Where your bank accounts are, including checking and savings.
-Where to find your Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance cards.
-Where you store past tax returns and any documentation you have saved for the current tax year.
-Where you have investment accounts and where the documentation is kept.
-If there are deeds or titles for anything you own such as your house, car or property.
If some of this terminology related to long-term care planning is unfamiliar to you, this article on Understanding Senior Care Legal Terminology might be of help.
Do you have more questions on preparing your aging loved one for financial fitness? Give us a call at 877.323.5916 today.