12 Apr Your Checklist to Getting Organized for National Healthcare Decisions Day
Saturday, April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD)! NHDD is an effort to encourage and empower people of all ages to learn the importance of advance care planning – one key part of creating an estate plan. However, we know that this topic can feel emotional or overwhelming. Want to take steps, but aren’t sure where to start? Our Checklist to Getting Organized should be your first stop.
National Healthcare Decisions Day is a great reminder to take the time to compile the important information and documents we’ve outlined in this blog.
Your Checklist to Getting Organized
Whether you are trying to organize your finances, or you are starting to make estate planning decisions, it is important that you compile the information in this checklist, in addition to any other information that you feel is important.
Personal and Family Records
- Social Security card, drivers’ license or state ID, passport, & military discharge papers (DD-214)
- Birth certificates for yourself, spouse, and children
- Marriage license and/or proof of divorce, if applicable
- Contact information for your current employer and/or supervisor
- Health, dental, vision, personal property, and/or homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with contact information of insurance agent(s)
- Usernames and passwords for computers, tablets, phones, online accounts, music sharing sites, etc.
- List of close relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. with their contact information
- Instructions or other messages for surviving spouse or children
Financial Accounts & Property Records
- Account information for checking, savings, credit cards, loans, stocks, bonds, other securities, other assets, and accounts receivable, etc.
- Safe-deposit box bank information, key, and box number
- Proof of car (and/or motorcycle, boat, etc.) ownership, registration, and insurance
- Real estate deed, title policies, mortgages, record of payments, tax receipts, receipts for improvements, etc.
- Income tax returns for last three years, and contact information for tax preparer
- Receipts and appraisals for any personal property of substantial value (e.g., furniture, silver, art, jewelry, etc.)
- Any business ownership and financial records (e.g., for sole proprietors or partnerships)
For information about finances, visit TriageCancer.org/Financial
Estate Planning Documents
- Will, trust, financial power of attorney, and advance directive, with contact information of your attorney if applicable
- Account information for retirement or pension plans (e.g., IRA, 401k, 403b, etc.)
- Life insurance policies
- Funeral or memorial instructions
For information about estate planning, visit TriageCancer.org/EstatePlanning
Storing Personal Information
Some potential places to store these records include a fireproof safe in your home, a bank safe deposit box, or electronically in an online drive. One benefit to keeping a copy of these records online, is that they are accessible from anywhere, which can be useful if you are traveling or if there is a natural disaster.
Wherever you decide to store these records, it is crucial that someone you trust knows where they are located and has access. For example, if you have named a friend your financial power of attorney, your friend needs to have access to your bank accounts, etc. If you have named your sister the executor of your will, then your sister needs to be able to access a copy of the will.
Estate Planning on National Healthcare Decisions Day and Beyond
If you would like to learn more about the other key parts of an estate plan, Triage Cancer provides free, easy-to-understand resources, including Quick Guides and Checklists, an award-winning animated video series, a State-Specific Estate Planning Toolkit (forms for your state, all in one place!), and more. For more information, see our Estate Planning Resource Hub.
About Triage Cancer
Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.
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