What do I need to do to get my family member/friend’s legal affairs in order?

Have the right documents. Make sure your loved one has a will, a health care power of attorney and a power of attorney for financial decisions.

Make a family plan. Discuss caregiving matters with all involved members of your family, and have your loved one put in writing who will be responsible for which caregiving roles — and have all parties sign.

Organize documents. Have a file with birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, citizenship papers, death certificate of a spouse or parent, power of attorney, deeds to property and cemetery plots, veteran’s discharge papers, insurance policies, and pension benefits.
 
Consider financial help. Investigate public benefits such as Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs, veterans’ benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), Medicare and Medicaid, as well as private insurance and pension benefits.

Look for tax breaks and life insurance deals. Keep all medical expense receipts for tax deductions. See if there is a life insurance policy that makes accelerated death payments to help pay for long-term care.

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