It takes time and money, but it’s fun to plan for some things — say, a new house, a baby, or a dream vacation. The result of all your planning is a place to call home, your little one’s smile, or the best two weeks of your life.
Some things aren’t so much fun to plan for, but are every bit as important. Whether you’re a newlywed, a mid-career manager, a recent retiree, or a caregiver, do you have your ducks in a row if something should happen to you? Would your spouse, partner, children, or even your legal representatives know where to begin to sort out your wishes about health care? About your estate? Can the most important people in your life find your key documents if and when they need to?
You don’t have to give up your privacy — you just need to think through what papers and information your family and others might need, organize them, and make it easy for them to find if necessary. They can be kept in a safe deposit box at a bank (make sure your trusted family members know which bank and branch), in a fireproof safe, or with your attorney (make sure your family members have the attorney’s business card). And be sure to keep your information up to date — they’ll need to know about your current credit card, not one you canceled 20 years ago.
In a time of crisis, your careful planning can save your loved ones time, stress, travel, and even conflict. Plus, your wishes are more likely to be respected if your family members know what they are.
Don’t know where to begin? A Place for Mom offers the Essential Document Locator Checklist, which can help you to organize the original documents, photocopies, and other information your family may need, from birth and marriage certificates to medical directives.
Let your family know about your plan and that you want to save them from a lot of headaches and heartaches. If they haven’t already, they may want to develop a plan of their own. It’s not fun like planning for a vacation, but it is necessary, and you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with taking control of the future.