Vital Documents all Seniors Should Have

In September 12, 2016

The folks that make up our senior population – the older matriarchs and patriarchs of our families – have been there, done that and have seen so much throughout history. Appreciating our seniors comes with many rewards, from their insights on world events to their day-to-day life. As we age, it’s important to stay on top of our personal affairs; a lifetime of financial and legal decisions can leave us with a trail of paperwork and documents to keep track of and not get lost. If you’re a senior citizen, or an individual assisting a senior, it’s a great idea to organize a vital documents checklist. Keeping legal documents in order is a practical first step for all of us and especially for seniors, ensuring that as they age their assets and vital records are kept in proper order.

If you happen to be assisting an elderly parent, or are an independent senior yourself, keeping important documents organized in one place will keep stress levels down when you need to find or use them. We’ve got a list for you of important documents every senior should have readily available.

Must Have Legal Documents for Seniors:

  • Advanced Healthcare Directive: Included in the directive will be a living will and a health care power of attorney. The living will informs providers what kind of care the patient wishes to receive in the event they are incapacitated and not able to express those wishes personally at the time needed. The health care power of attorney will name an individual with whom the patient has authorized to make medical decisions on their behalf.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: This legal document designates a trusted individual to make financial and legal decisions for you. From taxes to estates, you’ll need someone making sound decisions if and/or when you cannot.
  • A Will: No one wants to think about the inevitable end, but having a will in place will ensure your assets, property and belongings will be given to the people or organizations you want them to go to. It speeds up the legal process too, and ensure your property is rightfully given to the appropriate parties.
  • Retirement and Disability Plans: Having a directive that lays out your desires after retirement may be necessary so your living arrangements aren’t left up to chance.
  • Comprehensive Summary of Assets, Property and Benefits: Things you should include in this summary would be bank account information, CDs, estate information, savings accounts, and other active accounts that may still be ongoing. This information is very helpful to your family members or other trusted individuals who may need to make important decisions on your behalf.
  • Important Vital Records and Other Papers: Birth Certificates, Marriage records, Insurance information, Social Security cards, life insurance policies, medical records, military paperwork, physician contact information, a copy of the will, deeds, titles, proof of ownership of valuable belongings and any other important legal documents for the elderly should be kept in one secure place for easy access.

Having an important document checklist for the senior citizen in your life can help you keep everything organized and keep yourself prepared for the next steps of their life.  Easing the stress of a time when our seniors may be unable to coordinate decisions on their own can make things a little easier. While it’s hard to think about aging and moving on, we want to make the transition as easy as possible on all parties.

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