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Essential Life Documents

There are specific legal documents that every adult should complete to protect their legal and health interests during good health, illness, and death. These documents become even more important for seniors. Keeping these records in one location will afford you peace of mind if an emergency occurs. After gathering your information, make sure to tell your family or designated contact where the documents are located and update these documents as necessary.


Financial Documents

By organizing your information, your finances will stay safe and not become a missing family treasure. Here are the key financial documents you should have available to use:

  • List of bank accounts

  • Retirement accounts (pension, 401(k), IRAs, Roth IRAs, TSP, annuities, etc.)

  • Tax Returns

  • Savings accounts

  • Safe deposit boxes

  • Brokerage accounts

  • Debt Accounts (credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc.)

  • Property deeds

  • Vehicle titles

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

Healthcare Documents

A medical crisis can happen from something as simple as a fall or car accident. Planning for this crisis makes all the difference in your medical care and comfort. Your personal medical documents should include:

  • Living will

  • Health Care Directive (DNR, POLST, etc)

  • Personal medical history

  • Medications list (Prescription & over the counter)

  • Allergies

  • Insurance policies (health insurance, long-term care, etc.)

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare


End-of-Life & Estate Planning Documents

Although this may be difficult, preparing end-of-life documents offers peace of mind confirming your wishes are honored. Having these documents available and in one location allows you and your family to manage the orderly transfer of property and assets.

  • Will

  • Trust documents

  • End of life instruction letter



Other Essential Documents

These documents should be stored in a safe but accessible location. Access to your legal documents (as listed below) helps guarantee your insurance or benefits aren’t interrupted at a critical time.

  • Birth certificate

  • Marriage & divorce papers

  • Military records (DD214- discharge paperwork)

  • Contact list (family, relatives, close friends, attorney, financial planner, tax advisor, etc.)

  • Social Security Card

  • Driver’s license

  • Passport

  • Online account information (banking, social media, etc.)

Gathering all these documents can be overwhelming; tackle this task one at a time. Print this list and try to cross out one document at a time.

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