I'll spare the long story, but a friend is now in a hospital recovering from a very significant stroke. She is incompetent legally and...........has no family to make health care decisions, did not have a "Living Will" or Advance Medical Care Directive", has no Durable Power of Attorney granted to anyone to help, and friends are stuck trying to help without any real ability to help! To top it off, she needs some additional medical care for some additional conditions that require consent.
So, I do not need advice here, but I am dispensing advice:
You and your cute spouse should execute the following legal documents:
Wills, and possibly a Revocable or Living Trust,
Living Wills and/or Advance Medical Directives,
Durable Powers of Attorney,
Organ Donation Instructions if not included in other documents,
Disposition of the remains (how, and funeral, memorial, wake instructions),
Authorization to Release Protected Healthcare Information form,
Instructions for disposition of personalty, and here's some more:
Proof of Ownership
Documentation of housing and land ownership, cemetery plots, vehicles, stock certificates and savings bonds; any partnership or corporate operating agreements; and a list of brokerage and escrow mortgage accounts, retirement accounts everywhere (brokerages, companies, etc.).......Life insurance policies.......IRS's
Documents that list loans you have made to others, since they could be included as assets in an estate. Similarly, keep a list of any debts you owe to avoid surprising your family. Wills and living trusts generally are drafted to include provisions for how debts should be settled, and creditors have a stipulated period of time in which to file a claim against the estate.
Make the most recent three years of tax returns available, too. "Looking at last year's returns offers a snapshot of what assets we should be looking for this year" This also will help your personal representative file a final income-tax and estate return and, if necessary, a revocable-trust return.
A list of all accounts and online log-in information with your family so they can notify the bank of your death. "If nobody ever takes any more out or puts money in, it becomes a dormant account and then becomes the property of the state," he says.
Be sure to list any safe-deposit boxes you own, register your spouse or child's name with the bank and ask them to sign the registration document so they can have access without securing a court order.
Also consider Social Media site log-ins and passwords and the like.
Ensure your spouse knows where you have stored your marriage license. One person couldn't locate hers when her husband died. "I had to write to New York, where we got married, and pay for a new marriage license to prove that I had been married to my husband before I could claim anything," she says.
For divorced people, it is important to leave behind the divorce judgment and decree or, if the case was settled without going to court, the stipulation agreement. These documents lay out child support, alimony and property settlements, and also may list the division of investment and retirement accounts.
Include the distribution sheet listing bank-account numbers that accompanied the settlement to avoid disputes about ownership or payments due. Also include a copy of the most recent child-support payment order. In the majority of states, the obligation to pay child support still exists after death.
Filing copies of any life-insurance papers. In many states if you have a policy that benefits your children, it can be set off against the ongoing child support.
You also should include a copy of the "qualified domestic-relations order," which can prove your spouse received a share of your retirement accounts.
For those of you with parents............PLEASE try to help them approach this task and complete it BEFORE it is needed, as tough as that may be.