Hiya fellow Quarantine Queens!
I've been seeing a lot of posts swirling around the internet about banana bread, Tik Tok dances, and other activities to keep us busy at home. Many of my friends have texting me asking, "Alright Candi, I finally have some time to get my life together. I want to get an organizing project done but not sure what to tackle?"
I don't know about you all, but being in quarantine has not only freed up some time for me, it has also made me think about organizing some of the essential "crisis" paperwork. Now, you may be wondering, "Candi, my favorite professional organizer, what in the world is 'crisis' paperwork!?" Well, I am so glad you asked! I'm about to fill you in.
Crisis paperwork is paperwork that is important and and helpful during . . . you guessed it. . . a crisis- I'm here all night ladies and gentleman, well, and morning and afternoon, actually right now I'm here at home everyday all day. Okay okay, back to paperwork organization. Crisis paperwork, you may find, is what many consider death or doom + gloom paperwork. However, I have found:
Using the phrase "Death Papers:"
-Feelings of sadness
-Denial settles in
Using the phrase "Crisis Papers:"
-Feelings of preparedness
-Ready to take on the world
As an estate clearing professional, I have seen the tremendous confusion and concerns that have arisen when a crisis occurs and necessary paperwork/important documents are either uncompleted and/or can't be located. During a crisis, emotions are already running high and stress is inevitable. Make it easier for you and/or your loved ones by identifying and completing your crisis paperwork NOW and organizing it in a designated space away from other miscellaneous paper.
Here are the three categories of paperwork to organize your life for a crisis:
1. Healthcare Forms
Healthcare forms that are essential to have finished and organized before a crisis include Healthcare Power of Attorney AND a Living Will. These two documents often go hand-in-hand and help protect your wishes as far as health and medical care while you are still alive. There are many situations and crises that would involve you being alive but unable to communicate what kind of medical treatment you want.
Now, let me tell you why it's important to have BOTH of these documents. A Living Will lists out your desire or refusal of medical treatment if you are either permanently unconscious or terminally ill. This is an important document to organize before a crisis like the above to reduce emotional stress on loved ones as best as possible and to ensure you are being cared for the way YOU want. However, a Living Will is only used if the patient is deemed permanently unconscious.
If you are temporarily incapacitated and are expected to recover, a Living Will does not take effect, therefore; the only person who could make medical decisions on your behalf (even if you're in a freakin' coma) would be a pre-designated Health Care Power of Attorney-- this is why it is ESSENTIAL to have both of these forms completed. I have conveniently included a link to your Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will combined form ONLINE here. Take the time now in quarantine to go online and complete these essential documents to protect yourself and reduce the strain on family members.
PRO TIP: Once you're done completing the forms, make sure your Health Care Power of Attorney has the original copy deeming his or her authority, you have a copy, and your healthcare providers also have a copy to put in your medical records.
2. Vital Life Documents
This category of documents includes:
I HIGHLY recommend ordering an accordion file folder like this one on Amazon to keep all of your vital life documents together. Take advantage of the labels and use the bullets I listed above to create labels for each pocket. One step further, add a large label to the outside of the folder that says "Vital Life Docs." You don't need a fancy label maker, paper and tape work great! If you have a home office, store the accordion file there. If not, find another easy to access place.
3. Legacy Documents
Legacy documents you should organize in case of a crisis are Last Will + Testament, records of all banking accounts, and list of all insurance policies.
A Last Will and Testament is defined by LegalZoom.com as "A legal document that lets you, the testator (the person making the will), designate individuals or charities to receive your property and possessions when you pass away. . . A last will also allows you to name a guardian to care for minor children. The main purpose of a will is to ensure that the testator's wishes, and not the default laws of the state, will be followed upon the testator's death."
This form is pretty self explanatory on why it is extremely important to have completed and organized before a crisis. You can easily create your Last Will and Testament online with Legal Zoom here.
You'll also need to create a list of bank, investment, retirement/pension account numbers to ensure that all accounts are protected and resolved in case of a serious crisis. Lastly, compile all of your insurance policies-- most importantly your life insurance policy! Again, I highly recommend grabbing a second accordion file for this category of paperwork and following the instructions in step two for these documents.
Phew, and that's all I got for you today folks! I GUARANTEE if you take the time to complete and organize the above documents, you will feel like you have your life together and more importantly you will be PREPARED in case of a crisis. Quarantine time really puts things into perspective and reminds us how fragile and valuable life is. Take care of yourself and make things easier on trusted family and friends by organizing the above "Crisis Paperwork."
Have questions on any of the listed forms or documents? Comment below!
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Professional Disclaimer: The ideas, recommendations, and opinions on this website, blog, and made in person are for educational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered legal, financial, or medical advice. I am not an attorney, doctor, or licensed financial professional. Sage Organizing Co., LLC is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions or failure to act related to the content of this website, blog, or in-person discussions. If you need specific legal, financial, or medical advice, consult a professional in your area.
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