It’s easy to lose track of paperwork, especially someone else’s. Professionals recommend gathering important documents in one file for safekeeping. Put them in a locked and fireproof location. Consider a small safe at home. Or a safe deposit box at the bank.
Putting this file together with your relative’s help ensures that you know about all the accounts that exist. (Do it now, while he or she is still capable!) Following is a checklist of top priority health and financial documents. Make sure you have the signed originals. Copies may not be legally accepted.
- Original will or trust documents. (These can also be kept at the lawyer's office.)
- Durable power of attorney for finance.
- Advance healthcare directive (includes durable power of attorney for health and a living will).
- Ownership documents. Title and loan documents for property and vehicles. Also include documents for assets, such as savings bonds, brokerage accounts, and cemetery plots.