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No one plans to be sick or disabled, but having a strategy in place is invaluable when a calamity occurs. There are specific steps to take when you decide to get your affairs in order and the planning process is beneficial for both you and your loved ones. Start by keeping your important papers and copies of legal documents in one place. You could set up a file, put everything in a desk or dresser drawer, or just list the information and location of papers in a notebook. If your papers are in a bank safe deposit box, keep copies in a file at home. Remember to check them annually to see if there is anything new to add. Tell a trusted family member or friend where you put all your important papers. You do not need to tell this friend or family member about your personal affairs, but someone should know where the document s are in case of an emergency. In the absence of such a designee, ask a lawyer to help. Remember to give your  consent in advance, so your doctor or lawyer can talk with your caregiver as needed. There may be questions about your car, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without your consent, your caregiver may not be able to get the needed information. You can give your okay in advance to Medicare, a credit card company, your bank, or your doctor. You may need to sign and return a form. For more information on this important subject, use the web site below.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/getting-your-affairs-order

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