Traditionally, when we think of Estate Planning, we think of Trusts, Wills, and Durable Power of Attorneys. There are equally important steps to take to assist your family to assist you.
In the case of your disability, you may have executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial and Legal affair; however, if you haven’t left a road map of those affairs, your agent may not be able to adequately assist you.
First – organize all of the papers into one location. It could be a safe, a notebook or a filing cabinet drawer.
Prepare a monthly “budget”. Not the type that shows how much you spend per month on milk or coffee but one that shows the following:
Income. What are your sources of income and how are they paid? Are there direct deposits? Into which account? When is the money deposited?
Monthly expenses: What are your monthly reoccurring bills? List them: mortgage, utilities, auto payment, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, credit cards, etc.
Next show what the name of the company, the account number, the date of the month the bill is due and how the amount is paid. Is it automatically deducted from your checking account? Is it automatically charged to your credit card? Must it be paid by check? Or paid on line? If it is paid on line, include the user name and password for the account.
Without this information, many bills could be left unpaid if you do not receive a mailed billing each month.
Also create a listing of your assets. This can be done easily by placing a copy of the quarterly statement for each asset account (savings, checking, financial institution) into one folder. The balance in the account is not the critical piece of information here – the account number, contact information and institution is the key.
Create a listing of your medical information and providers. The providers can easily be done by stapling a business card for each of your doctors, therapists, and dentists onto a sheet of paper.
Make a listing of all current medications that you are taking with a note as to the doctor who prescribed the medication.
Finally, make a notation as to where your original documents are located so that they can be accessed by those who need them.
This will go a long way to assist others in assisting you in a time of crisis.