Important legal documents are those that help protect you and your family in legal, financial, and medical situations. Which specific documents are important to you and your family are unique to your current situation and needs. For example, if you are a parent, homeowner, retired person or have a certain medical condition, there may be specific legal documents you need.
There are certain legal documents, however, that everyone should obtain or create and retain in a secure location. Many personal and financial documents and records also fall under this category.
Some of these documents, for example, prove your identity; others declare your wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself; still others protect those you love when you are unable to look after them yourself.
Especially as you age, there are several kinds of legal documents you should have to help plan for how you want your affairs taken care of in the future.
Advanced directives allow you to arrange the care you’ll receive if you get sick or unable to make your own care or legal decision.
A living will lets you state the type of health care you want to receive (or don’t want to receive) if you get too ill to let your wishes be known at that time. This relieves the burden from your family members to make difficult healthcare decisions on your behalf; it can also avoid conflict among family members when they don’t agree on the type of care you should or shouldn’t receive.
A durable power of attorney allows you to name the individual who you wish to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so yourself. Therefore, a durable power of attorney is someone you’ve chosen to make your medical and healthcare decisions.
Just be sure whomever you name is aware of this fact and has agreed to fulfill this role.
A durable power of attorney for legal matters can come in one of two forms, at your choosing. The difference between them primarily lies in whether their rights and duties persist after you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
You may, therefore, choose to have both a durable power of attorney for healthcare matters and a durable power of attorney for legal matters, or you may select one person to serve both roles, and formalize it in the same Durable Power of Attorney document.
Trusts and wills
Trusts and wills allow you to name the people or entities to whom you want your property and money to go upon your death.
Besides the living will already described above, here are some of the other main kinds of wills and trusts:
Important personal documents and records
Important financial documents and records
The names of several of these documents sound quite similar, so make sure you’re clear on which documents are which and that you prepare the documents you specifically need.
Also note that different states have different laws about the requirements, rules and legal forms used for required documents (as opposed to highly recommended ones). Speak with a lawyer if you have any questions.
Whether you are currently residing at your home or have transitioned to a senior living community. There may be times when you need help to handle various financial and healthcare situations. Keeping important legal documents organized and accessible is critical for mitigating stress and efficiently managing unexpected emergencies for everyone’s benefit.
All of Ingleside’s retirement communities, including Ingleside at Rock Creek, offer a complete continuum of care — so you’ll never need to worry about having to move in the future, even if your health changes.
Ingleside at Rock Creek has several neighborhoods offering different levels of living, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services. And all of our care is conveniently located on one campus. Please call (202) 846-2651 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.