Many of us do not take the time to organize our legal and financial documents and record critical facts. Each of us should take responsibility for the security of our affairs at life’s end, and by properly planning you can avoid significant anguish for your loved ones. There are many issues that may surface during these times, and this section of the HMW guidebook assists you in arranging valuable information to handle these affairs.
• A Durable Power of Attorney names a representative to manage your finances in the event you suffer a long incapacitating illness. This financial representative may be a different person than your Health Care Agent. You may choose to keep the original or a copy in the sheet protector, in the pocket part of this section divider, or directly into the HMW binder.
• Completing a Will ensures that your assets will be passed according to your wishes. Not having a Will complicates the probate process, and may raise unnecessary hardships. Place either the original or a copy of your Will in the sheet protector.
• Assets will need to be distributed after death, and even more questions will surface regarding financial issues. Knowing which of your assets are passed down without a Will, such as accounts held with Rights of Survivorship, is essential. Having important information gathered in one location will enable the individuals working on these problems to efficiently secure your estate.
• If you and your spouse have a Community Property Agreement, you should place either the original or a copy of it in the sheet protector as well.
• Attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and insurance agents might have a role to play, and their names and contact information should be readily available. Provide additional pages where necessary so that all of your relevant information is available.
• The location of documents that identify important information about your assets will be necessary to make effective transfers. You may wish to place copies of some of these documents in the pocket part of this section divider, directly into the guidebook, or indicate where they may be located.
Your family and loved ones will truly benefit by your thoughtful preparation.
My husband died suddenly in 2001. Fortunately I knew bill-paying and where all of our paperwork was kept. We had also prepared wills and a community property agreement. The prepared paperwork was very effective. But as I was grieving, I realized that I had to prepare new documents. And since we’d had no children, I needed to find someone trustworthy to take care of my affairs. About that time I began working with Honor My Wishes. We were preparing a Guidebook with three sections – Dignity (making sure official documents are in place), Security (having all the financial paperwork in order) and