Neither you nor your loved ones have to experience this season of life alone. ---Mattyee

Neither you nor your loved ones have to experience this season of life alone.  ---Mattyee

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Estate Planning: Creating an Elder Diary

As a writer of reference books for seniors, I concur with Eric Castongia's article "Estate Planning: Getting your affairs in order" in the September issue of WEST PORTAL MONTHLY, "how important it is to have a plan in place with necessary supporting documents" and " the lack of an organized list of active accounts--and clarity on inactive accounts--made it necessary to spend countless hours on the phone to sort it all out."

A diary will address the subjects highlighted in the article by centralizing the recording of medical and other important information you may need to organize and have at your fingertips for quick access.

A good diary should be divided into sections: Advance Directives, Medications, Allergies, Treatments, Notes, Lab, X-ray, Rehab & Therapy , Dietary, Lists, Miscellaneous, and Appendix, with an Important Document Checklist for criteria to identify important documents: Estate, Family, Financial, Government, Health Records (Medical and Insurance), Home Warranties, Photographs and Photograph Album.

You should assign retention periods and thin files regularly so that the diary is up-to-date.

Elder Diary: Starter Kit identifies the uses fore a diary as follows:

  • To simplify locating medical and other information.

  • When you are preparing for doctor's visits.

  • When medical care is required, it provides useful information to caregivers, family members and friends.

  • When transitioning from at-home living to a retirement community, independent living facility, assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility.

  • When families or responsible parties are taking care of the decedent's estate.
I agree, your personal representative (executor/successor trustee) should know where to locate your important documents.

As a retired Registered Health Information Technician, I am not qualified to give legal advice. Resources that can provide information to help with decision-making about getting your affairs in order are: 1) The State Bar of California pamphlet DO I NEED ESTATE PLANNING? To request publications contact 1-888-875-5297 or visit 2) YOUR PERSONAL FINANCIAL ORGANIZER,