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Important Papers: Getting Organized

This section discusses types of important papers you may want to organize and describes the ways others have done this. Links to resources with more detailed information are provided at the end.

DocumentsGraphic.jpgMake organizing fun. Actually, that was just to get your attention. For many people, "organizing paperwork" and "fun" just don't belong in the same sentence. However, we can agree that getting our affairs in order and sharing the information is a valuable, loving legacy.

For Caretakers. If you are caring for an elder, you may be working on a plan of care at home. This means recording information on their Personal Medical History, Health Care Providers, Health Insurance Information and what some call the "Refrigerator List" of whom to contact in case of an emergency. Adapt the lists below for your own situation. For example, if your loved one has a dog, you may want to add to your emergency contact list a veterinarian and the person to call to care for a household pet.

Your Going Away Book (adapted from John Leslie, author of I'm Not Dead Yet). Imagine the benefit of having a place where your recorded decisions, requests, financial information, personal, legal, and historical data are documented. We have provided a link below with a checklist of information from his book to help you collect what is important to you while you can. And it is not just about collecting the information; it's about sharing it, too

Overlooking information. Imagine you've gone to all this work, gathered all your information, important documents, and final requests, but neglected to tell your loved ones where to find it (based on several true stories, unfortunately.)  One great advantage to starting early is you may notice in your everyday life, bits of information you have over looked, such as the names of relatives in the photo album or an updated list of passwords and usernames for your computer, online accounts and membership sites.

Forms and Resources:

Personal Medical History

Preparing Your Personal “Going Away” Book

Health Care Providers

Health Insurance Information

Refrigerator Contact List