Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Fresh Start - Seven Ways to Get Organized

By Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho

Life gets away from us with endless distractions every day.  Here are seven easy steps you can take to be certain some of the most important parts of your life stay organized.

  1. Keep your important papers in one place and tell someone where they are located.  These papers may include some or all of the following:  birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce decree, military discharge papers, life insurance, car titles, deeds, your Last Will and Testament, a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust, financial power of attorney, health power of attorney, living will, Physician’s Order for Scope of Treatment (POST), funeral plans, health insurance, long-term care insurance, a list of your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other investments, along with a list of your charge card numbers.
  1. Sign a financial power of attorney, which allows the people you select to handle modest financial transactions for you if you are not able. 
  1. In addition, sign a health power of attorney appointing someone to make health decisions on your behalf if you cannot communicate effectively.
  1. Sign a “living will” to elect the type of care you want to receive when you are on your deathbed.  If you fail to have a “living will,” under Idaho law the legal and medical systems require at a minimum that you receive nutrition and hydration with tubes (nose or stomach tubes).  The other two choices are to use all the fancy machines to keep you going as long as possible, or skip the tubes and fancy machines, and just keep you comfortable and “let me go.”
  1. Sign a Last Will and Testament or a revocable Trust so that your wishes will be followed when you die as to who will be in charge, and who will receive your “stuff” [the ring and gun] as well as who will receive your estate.
  1. If you have a safe deposit box, or a safe at home, make certain someone else has the ability to access them if your are ill, out of town or die. 
  1. If you have pets, make arrangements for their care if you are unable to care for them due to illness or death.

Lastly, mark your calendar for a year from now to review this list and up date your affairs.  That way you will stay organized and prepared which creates security for your future.

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