When faced with a family crisis the last thing you want to be doing is searching for your loved one’s important legal, financial and official records. Unfortunately, this is the reality that many families have to deal with – often at the most difficult of times.

I spent untold hours searching through desks, filing cabinets and hiding places in order to get the affairs of my sister together after her sudden health decline. My sister was no longer in any capacity to assist me. Three years on we are still discovering new shares that we were unaware she owned. – Margaret- Rosebud, VIC

Although most of us are aware that legal documents are necessary for end of life arrangements, they are often needed for a variety of other reasons before then:

Proactively organising, locating and keeping copies of essential documents can save you and your family time and worry. It will also give you peace of mind ensuring there is no delay in the provision of aged care services or care.

Here are a few critical documents that families should be looking for:

  • Personal Property Memorandum
  • Life Insurance Paperwork
  • Power of attorney
  • Living Will
  • Will & Testament
  • Trust

Naturally not everyone wishes to disclose or hand over details of their personal finances, even to their children. Although privacy can be maintained by storing these sensitive documents in a locked drawer or with a trusted financial advisor.

However, the consequences of not sharing this information with a decision maker may result in lengthy delays in organising care, create avoidable angst, and ultimately run the risk of funds being unclaimed by loved ones named in a Will. So for the smoothest transitions and transactions in later life for you and your family, locate your documents – now.