Life is sweet at home

Cornerstone Advisor Talks About Important Legal Documents – Part III

It is important to have your legal documents in order for the next generation. Photo courtesy

It is important to have your legal documents in order for the next generation.
Photo courtesy

At the recent “Caring for Your Elders” discussion held at the Bellevue Club and hosted by Cornerstone Advisors, financial expert Chuck Hammond shared personal experiences about the importance of completing legal documents. Karin L. Miller, geriatric sociologist and I gave presentations to the group of 60 or so people in attendance. As you know from the last blog, my presentation discussed elder care options.

Chuck is a client manager with 27-years of experience at Cornerstone. Not only has he served as executor for five family members, he regularly advises clients on how to get their affairs in order for surviving generations.

The first list of legal documents we all need to attend to includes:

• An updated will

• Durable Power of Attorney for finances

• Durable Power of Attorney for health care decisions

• Living Will with health care directives

• DNR instructions

Documents for decision makers:

1) Burial/cremation wishes

2) Funeral/memorial services wishes

3) Instructions on who to call (funeral home, family members, financial advisors…)

A man who has served as executor for estates that ranged from chaotic to completely clear instructions, Chuck could not stress hard enough the importance of each of us making these important decisions long before they are needed.

He asked the gathering to consider organizing other documents such as insurance and financial information into one file or drawer, where survivors can readily find the latest information. He suggested that by organizing our papers we are totally helping the executor carry out their wishes in a timely and family-friendly manner.

Other financial documents to organize:

• Written summary of assets and liabilities

• Do NOT open joint accounts with parent or child

• List account numbers and contact information

• List user ID and passwords for online accounts

• Consolidate accounts when possible

• Keep insurance policies in one place

• Destroy old documents!

• Keep executor or personal representative well-informed about location of key information.

What strategies do use to make administrating an estate more seamless?