While our own death is not a topic anyone really wants to talk about, it’s critical that you have all your affairs in order for your heirs. Your family should be able to access all the pertinent information they will need after your passing. In my last post, I shared the essential document you need in your death dossier. In this post, I am addressing the health care documents you should have sorted and filed.
Personal Medical History
Your personal medical history should include a list of all the doctors you have been seeing within the last five years. Contact information for your family doctor, specialists, and surgeons and pharmacists will be helpful if any future appointments need to be cancelled or if you need access to any of the medical files. Medical documents may be crucial for insurance purposes or any other financial issues linked to your personal health. If you have them, be sure to include diagnostic reports, x-rays and sign-in information for health-related websites. Don’t forget to add other practitioners such as dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, physiotherapists and others. While your doctors have your medical records, your personal medical history should include a list of all ailments, medications and allergies. This can be valuable information for your descendants down the line.
Family Medical History
In addition to your own personal medical history, sharing the family history is important as well. Leave a record of any family illnesses - cancer, heart conditions, mental health issues and allergies. If you have information about treatments and outcomes, you can include that as well.
Health Care Insurance
Have copies of your healthcare insurance documents in this file. This includes any private policies or drug plans. If you have receipts from health care expenses, file them here as well for tax purposes.
Power of Attorney (Personal Care)
The personal care Power of Attorney allows someone you appoint to make decisions
On your behalf regarding your medical treatment should you be unable to do so. Personal care may also include decisions about shelter, clothing, hygiene, social activities, support services, routine management of your financial affairs, legal matters, and safety. Include a copy of this document in your health care folder and another in your essentials folder.
Organ Donation Information
If you have any special requests or instructions for organ donation, be sure to include them here. Depending on where you live, official documents might be required before your organs can be harvested and donated.
A living will is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. Should you fall ill and be unable to communicate, the living will is the directive for physicians, informing them of your desired treatment. This document can offer invaluable guidance to family members, eliminating the need to guess what you would prefer in terms of treatment.
Do Not Resuscitate Order
A Do Not Resuscitate - or DNR - order lets medical professionals know that you do not wish to have excessive interventions to keep you alive. Generally, a DNR will prevent CPR from being attempted as well as other resuscitative measures that follow it (such as electric shocks to the heart and artificial respirations by insertion of a breathing tube). Be sure to check your region’s rules for what is an acceptable DNR order.
Getting these health-related documents ready is an important step in building your death dossier. In the next post, we will outline the documents pertinent to proof of ownership such as mortgage documents, business partnerships and investments.
Contact me by phone or email (905-330-5201 / firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of all the articles in this series plus the 30 Documents You Need Before You Die document.
As a Master Accredited Senior Agent® (M-ASA) and Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®), I specialize in helping seniors and their families through every stage of the decision process surrounding a potential move. Whether you are downsizing, moving to a retirement home or want to explore your options, please feel free to contact me. I am ready to answer your questions.