Organization – Your New Best Friend


1, 2, 3  Everybody groan—Aaaaaagh! I hate record keeping, too.  It’s a pain, but it does not have to be difficult.  Believe me when I say you will thank yourself a hundred times over later on.  Organization will become your new best friend! Plus, having things in order is another step to reducing your long-term stress.

It’s best to keep all documents (or copies of them) pertaining to the individual in one place, whether it’s a box, a file cabinet, a computer file, a disc, or whatever works best for your circumstances.

If possible, include the person you’re caring for in this process as they may remember important documents that you’re not even aware of, i.e. stocks and bonds.

A few helpful suggestions:

♦  Make sure each document is dated.  This is especially important if the document is edited for any reason.

♦  Be consistent in how you file them, with most recent on top (or bottom) so you don’t have to shuffle through everything each time you need a document.

♦  Categorize.  If you’re doing this on the computer or using a file cabinet, it’s easy enough.  If you’re tossing everything into a box, I recommend that you do it in layers with a colored piece of paper between each category.  Write on the paper what can be found beneath it, such as credit card information, medical tests, etc.  Too much work?  Then at least clip each group together.

Here are some suggested categories.  You may have more or less…

√  Insurance (Medical, Dental, Life, Vision, etc.)

√  Medical Reports (diagnosis, surgeries, other medical conditions, allergies, etc),

√   Advance Directives

√   Estate Planning

√   Medication List (be sure to keep it updated & include over-the-counter drugs)

√   Current Care Plan

√   General Durable Power of Attorney

√   Property Deeds (don’t forget about cemetery plots)

√   Credit Card Information (Company & Acct #)

√   Social Security Card

√   Tax Receipts

√   Financial Information (bank account numbers, safe deposit box key, pensions, stocks/bonds, loans, mortgage(s), Last Will and Testament, etc)

√   Contact Information (doctors, therapists, hospice, minister, employer, attorneys, support agencies, etc.)

√   Funeral Arrangements

√   List of People to Contact upon Death

√   List of who will need an Original Death Certificate or a copy (Social Security, VA, Insurance Companies, Bank, Attorney, County Property Records, Relatives, etc.)

Keep this information in a secure place that is accessible to other family members who need to know, and be sure to inform them if the location changes.

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