Now is the time to get your personal affairs in order. This includes the following documents that are properly drafted and executed:
1. Durable Power of Attorney (POA): in which you appoint someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so (This is during your life. A POA ends upon your death).
2. Health Care Surrogate: in which you give someone authority to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to do so.
3. Living Will: in which you instruct whether you want your life artificially prolonged by administering food and hydration if you are so ill that your quality of life is severely compromised and diminished.
4. Will: in which you state what you want done with your burial and your stuff upon your death, and who you want to handle your affairs after you die.
All these documents should be witnessed and notarized. Do not wait to get these documents until you become too ill to communicate your wishes or your illness is such that it is impossible for witnesses and notary to see or access you so they can do their job.
Some other things to do:
1. Ask your bank to let you sign a Payable Upon Death card which gives who you designate access to your bank account only after you die, without having to have a probate.
2. Verify with your life insurance company that you have named the beneficiaries you want.
3. Verify with your retirement and investment advisors that you have named the beneficiaries you want.