An emergency in Riverside County, such as a fall or heart attack, could land you or someone you love in a hospital room in the Inland Empire. If this incident has happened multiple times in the past, the attending social worker may recommend an assisted living home for safety reasons.
She, as well as the emergency room and facility, may ask questions about the client, including such basics as full name and birthplace, plus some that require more detailed answers such as financial accounts, legal directives, and insurance policies.
For yourself, although you won’t likely have the needed information at your fingertips, you know how to find it after shuffling through various storage areas of your home. But will your children or caretaker know where to look? And if the client is your parent or elderly relative, would you even know where to start?
It’s essential to have one easily reached area where all essential documents are stored, whether this location is at your place or the home of someone you love. It then becomes convenient to bring that stack of papers with you during an emergency discussion.
Some of the vital documents to have on hand are the following:
- Advance Directives. These instructions document what should be done if a person can no longer make decisions. They include the California Advance Health Care Directive, which names a power of attorney for health care and a primary physician and talks about organ donation and what to do about your health conditions. Directives can also include a last will and funeral arrangements.
- Identification. A driver’s license, social security card, passport, original birth certificate, immigration, and naturalization papers are used to verify a person’s identity. If the original birth certificate is missing, you can order a duplicate copy from the Vital Records office in the state of birth.
- Financial Accounts Information. A list of bank accounts, credit card numbers, loans, mortgages, and insurance policies are needed to deal with payments and other money matters. Because financial and insurance institutions typically offer this information on a website for their clients, a list of online user codes and passwords helps with access.
- Marriage Certificates or Divorce Papers. Information related to marital status, such as marriage certificates, divorce papers, prenuptial, child support, and alimony agreements, generally exists as printed hard copies.
- User codes and Passwords. Much of life now exists online in social media, emails, photo storage, shopping portals, and memberships, to name a few options. User codes and passwords are vital to accessing all this data, and they often only exist in someone’s head. Take the time to list these identifiers and the names of websites that they apply to. Many of the documents detailed on this list may be duplicated or only available through a website.
- Tax Returns. If the IRS audits someone’s tax returns, it can go back up to three years. This reason is why it is recommended that tax returns be kept for at least three years. These records may also help determine the costs of properties such as homes or stocks.
- Keys. To access physical copies of documents, you may need keys. These include access to the home, cars, filing cabinets, safety deposit boxes, and post office boxes.