4 Organizing Documents that will Save Your Life and Your Money

You always hear lawyers and financial planners talk about your will, power of attorney and advanced directives being the MOST important documents that you can have.  In my 9+ years as a professional organizer, I have worked with LOTS of clients who have had loved ones get sick suddenly or pass away and they are left digging through piles of paperwork to figure out the answers to a doctor’s questions or trying to find these important documents that often control our health care in an emergency or the money of a loved one who has passed.

I recommend that you take a couple of hours to create the following four documents.  These documents will speed up your care in a health emergency and save your loved ones a series of HUGE headaches in the event of your passing.

  1. Create a Professional Service Provider List of all your major professional services providers that spouse or children may need in case of emergency (Accountant, Attorney, Financial Planner, Insurance Agent).  Also, include other service providers like lawn services, snow plowing, dog walking, etc.
  2. Create an Estate Map to document the location of insurance policies (auto, homeowners, life insurance), stock certificates, savings bonds, titles (home, auto, land), jewelry or other valuables.
  3. Create an Account List of all your investment and bank accounts with account numbers, phone numbers and locations.
  4. Create a Personal Medical Directory containing all the information on your doctors with addresses and contact information, any medications that you take regularly, drug or food allergies and surgeries.  You should attach this to your medical power of attorney and advanced directives.

Consider giving copies of these documents to your children (if they are old enough) or the person that you have chosen to be your power of attorney or executor.  If you trust them enough to handle your estate or your medical decisions, you should be able to trust them enough with these documents.  Otherwise, give a copy to your attorney to file with your will.  Just make sure your executor, kids, etc know who your attorney is!

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