Documents You Cant Afford to Ignore

Documents You Can’t Afford to Ignore: Family Protection by Preparation

By Jeff Anderson on November 28, 2012

Our life is bookended by essential documents: We’re given a birth certificate after our first breath and a death certificate after our last. In between, we accumulate innumerable other certificates, registrations, titles, contracts, licenses, directives, deeds, diplomas and so on. By the time we’re elderly, we have accumulated dozens, perhaps hundreds, of official documents of all shapes and sizes. But which of these are important?

Expect the Unexpected: When You Need Official Documents

Documents You Cant Afford to Ignore.

© Senior Living News and Trends | A Place for Mom 2013. All rights reserved.

Legally-binding paperwork and forms related to end-of-life are a big part of our list of important documents, but these documents can be required in many other situations, including when an elderly person:

Financial Document

  • List of all bank accounts
  • Pension documents 401(k) information, and annuity contracts
  • Tax returns
  • Savings bonds, stock certificates or brokerage accounts
  • Partnership and corporate operating agreements
  • Deeds to all property
  • Vehicle title
  • Documentation of loans and debts, including all credit accounts

Durable financial power-of-attorney (financial proxy)


Healthcare Documents You Need


  • Health care proxy (durable health power-of-attorney)
  • Authorization to release health-care information
  • Living will (healthcare directive)

    Personal medical history

  • Insurance card (Medicare, Medicaid, Independent)
  • Long-term care insurance policy
  • End-of-life and Estate Planning Documents
  • Will
  • Trust documents
  • Life-insurance policies
  • End of life instructions letter (regarding wishes not covered in will, for example regarding memorial, or items not covered in the will)
  • Organ donor card

Other Must-Have Documents

  • Marriage papers
  • Divorce papers
  • List of online usernames and passwords
  • List of safe deposit boxes and the location of their keys
  • Military records
  • Birth certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Passport

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