Estate Matters: A Paper Trail – and Why You Should Have One

Posted by Don W on April 22, 2010 under Estate Tax and Planning, Tax Matters in the News

Though we don’t like to think about it, it remains a fact that anything can happen to anyone, at any time – but through a handful of small actions, you can make things easier for your close family and friends:  by making your important documents easier to find in an emergency.

Four years ago, my brother keeled over (a cardiac event, it was called) and over the course of the next three days, while he was unconscious, it was left to the neighbors to search through his home to find any Health Care Directives, Power of Attorney papers and – if worse came to worst – a will.  The closest neighbor reported to me by phone that all such documents were eventually found, but in three different rooms throughout the house.  It made them frantic.

To avoid such a scenario in your own life, consider taking a bit of time to assemble a paper trail – and share it with at least a few close, trusted neighbors, friends or relatives.  Make it easier for them to help you.

A recent article in the New York Times provides a practical approach to putting together your own paper trail.  It may come in handy some day!