Like it or not, documentation has become an integral part of our lives. From both a practical and legal perspective, your files can provide proof of ownership, medical history, and even give you the authority to act on the behalf of others. This can be especially important if you are caring for an elderly parent or loved one.
But with so much information to keep track of, how can your family documentation be organized efficiently? Which files are absolutely critical, especially if you’re collecting them for someone under your care?
In this guide, we’ve put together a checklist of the most important documents to consider. We’ll also explain how our site, Pillar Life, can be used to quickly and safely organize and manage these files for you.
Why Organize Your Life Documents?
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how important their documentation is until after the fact. For example, think about what can happen in the following scenarios:
● Your elderly parent passes away without warning. As part of their will, you are named the executor of their estate. You are honored to fulfill this duty, but it will require gathering and processing a variety of legal and financial records that are needed for probate. You go into their house and find a 4-tier file cabinet stuffed full of papers. Where do you start?
● Your elderly loved one begins to exhibit dementia and is placed into the care of a nursing home. You are asked by the family to manage her property and start the process of applying for Medicaid. Unfortunately, due to her condition, you cannot ask her where her financial records are or even rely on the validity of her answers. Furthermore, since your loved one is still alive, you will require official authorization to prove that you can make legal decisions on their behalf.
● A fire or flood destroys your home, including all physical documents as well as your computer. Without a backup of this information, you’d have no choice but to painstakingly request copies of each file; most likely one at a time from a wide range of sources.
These are all examples of real-world events that happen every day to thousands of people, and why Pillar Life can be so useful. Through using a remote, centralized location to prepare all of these necessary documents, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that you’ll be ready when the time comes.
Important Documents Checklist
Whether you’re collecting files for yourself or a loved one, there are several areas of life where the necessary information can become relevant. Here are the major categories of documentation that you’ll want to make sure you’ve got ready.
● Health / dental / optical insurance policy and information (including Medicare or Medicaid). Take photos of the front and backs of all insurance cards.
● Primary care physician information. You can also include any specialists that are regularly used.
● Preferred laboratories (for services such as bloodwork, etc.)
● Preferred pharmacy location
● HIPPA release form.
● List of medications (including dosage)
● List of pre-existing conditions
● List of allergies
● Vital records
● Healthcare proxy form
● Living will or advance directive form
● DNR (do not resuscitate) form (if applicable)
● List of any commonly used medical equipment and devices
● Medical bills
● Bank account number and information
● Bank statements
● Sources of income
● Retirement account information
● Investment account information
● Pension information
● Social Security information
● Life insurance information
● Disability benefits
● Real estate information
● Property insurance information
● Vehicle information
● Vehicle insurance information
● Other asset and account information
● Credit card information
● Financial advisor or agent contact information
● Tax returns
● Government benefits
● Outstanding loans or other debts
● Safety deposit box information
● Signed wills and trusts
● Attorney information
● Power of attorney forms
● Birth certificate
● ID card or driver’s license
● Social Security card
● Marriage certificate
● Divorce paperwork
● Email login and passwords
● Home security information
● Household device logins
● Safe combination
● Storage unit information
● Where a spare key is hidden
● Organ donation
● Handling of the body (burial, cremation, etc.)
● Key people to reach out to
● Funeral arrangements and any pre-payment details
● What to do with pets
● Estate plan
● Obituary details
History / Legacy
● Family tree (i.e. 23 and Me)
● Travel documents
● Favorite charity
● Letters to share with family members
● Cherished family memories
● Any thoughts or wisdom to share (ethical will)
Why Pillar Life is the Ultimate Important Documents Organizer
Bringing all of these documents and important papers together can be overwhelming. The creators of Pillar Life know that, and they’ve got you covered.
Pillar is designed to organize all of your important documents and information into one safe, central location. No more rummaging through file cabinets or guessing which part of a hard drive a rouge file is located. With Pillar Life, everything gets collected and categorized so that it can be retrieved in a manner of seconds.
How will the data be organized?
The files will be arranged into categories similar to what you see in the checklist above. We even provide you with step by step guidance to ensure that nothing critical gets missed.
Can I only upload files for my elderly loved one, or can I also upload my own files?
Pillar lets you create as many profiles as you want. You can customize one for each of your family members, including yourself.
Will my information be secure?
Yes! Similar to banks, Pillar’s security starts with AES 256-bit encryption. Beyond that, we employ multiple ways to ensure that you and only you will have access.
Can I share information with other family members?
Absolutely! All the data that is stored can be accessed by other family members at your discretion.
How much does Pillar Life cost?
Pillar is free to try for 14 days. Afterward, it costs $9.99 per month or $120 annually.