Keeping Organized When You and Your Family Need it the Most

Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly forgot why you went there in the first place?  Have you ever made sure to take care of something and then not remember where you put it?  Have you ever purchased a birthday or Christmas gift early, put it away, and then couldn’t find it when you needed it?  I am being honest; I answered yes to everyone of those three questions.   It happened less than a month ago when I couldn’t find a gift that was purchased for Christmas.  It made me think of how easy it is to become unorganized when you are doing your best to hold it all together.

Chances are some of these have happened to you as well.  Imagine now that someone you love is hurt in an accident or worse yet, dies at a young age.  Would you know where they keep their health insurance card?  Do you know who their health insurance company is?  Do they have a will?  Do they have life insurance?  What kind of life insurance do they have?  Do you know who their health and life insurance agent is?  Do they have a living will?  Who is their power of attorney?  Do they have an attorney?  Do they have an accountant?  Do you know who their financial planner is?   Do you know where they bank?  Do you have access to usernames and passwords?

So that when the unexpected happens, Balanced Care wants you to have an idea of things to keep together and update on a regular basis.  We recommend having these documents stored safely together in a place where your family can find them easily:

  • Your will – A will outlines who gets what should something happen to you.  A will can also outline who would be your children’s guardian.  Without a will in place, your assets will be divided according to your state’s law; not your own desires.  Balanced Care recommends having your will done by an attorney who specializes in estate planning.  If you need a recommendation, please give us a call.  With the networking that we do every week, we have more than one we can recommend in the states of NH and Maine.  It is our understanding that wills should be updated every three to five years, but we do recommend speaking with an attorney when major life changes happen such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or the death of a beneficiary.
  • A living will – A living will outlines how you will be treated in the case of a life threatening injury or illness especially if you are unable to make the decision at the time.  As a mother of two grown sons, my husband and I requested that our sons have a living will before they went off to college.  If a child is over 18 and something happens to them such as a life threatening injury and they aren’t able to make a health care decision on their own, a parent cannot do it for them without a living will.   It was important to us to have this done before so we always knew they would be treated should something ever happen.  They did have to speak with an attorney to set this up and we let them make their own decisions, but we are so glad that it was done.  Just like a will, living wills should be updated with major life changes or if you move out of state.
  • Tax Returns – If you are anything like me, you get your taxes done and then put it away so you don’t have to think about it for another year.  Accountants recommend keeping six years of tax returns in one place.  These returns give an executor an idea of what assets and finances are part of your estate.
  • A power of attorney – A power of attorney gives someone permission to make financial decisions for you in the event you are not able to do so.
  • Proof of ownership – Gather together documents that show you as the owner of your home, your car, land, stocks, bonds, and any other assets you own.
  • List of bank accounts – You may even want to include safety deposit boxes to this list.   It is important for family to be able to find your money and use it as you wish.   With so many people doing their banking online, it is also important to list your usernames and passwords in a safe place.
  • Retirement Accounts, Pension, Annuities,  Investment Account Statements – Put together your investment account statements so your family will know exactly what you own.
  • Insurance Policies – Most often, people will keep their health insurance card in their wallet or pocketbook.   It is also important to keep your disability, long term care, home, auto, and life insurance policies together.
  • List of debts – Doing this will prevent any unexpected surprises to your family down the road.
  • Marriage and Divorce documents – This is just another example of a document that many people won’t think about until the day they need it the most.
  • List of your insurance broker, your financial planner, your accountant, and your attorney – Include names, addresses and phone numbers so your family can get in touch with them when they need to.

Keep in mind that if you make any changes such as switching banks, insurance companies, or changing passwords,  this information should be updated immediately.   The goal of Balanced Care is to insure security and peace of mind one family at a time.    Let us help you keep organized so that when you and your family need it the most, you have the peace of mind you deserve.

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Terri Trepanier is the owner of Balanced Care Health and Supplemental Insurance and a licensed broker in Maine and New Hampshire.  Her specialty is working with small businesses, individuals, and families with their health and life insurance needs.  She is certified to offer health plans both on and off the exchange and is contracted with every health insurance company that offers plans in both New Hampshire and Maine.  Her other passion is assisting Medicare beneficiaries with their Medicare Supplemental, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Advantage plans. Terri knows the importance of insurance products and how they help individuals and families.  Her goal with Balanced Care is to insure security and peace of mind one family at a time.

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