BOSTON (CBS) – It’s Thanksgiving week. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. You don’t need to worry about presents or fancy decorations or cards. Just families and extended families getting together to share food.

USA Today had in interesting snapshot on people’s favorite part of Thanksgiving; Family 40%, Leftovers 33%, Turkey, 15%, football 11% shopping 2%. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Family and leftovers are the best part of this day for me!

This is also National Family week which celebrates strong families. So I thought this would be an opportune time to talk about families and money. Most families would much rather talk about the Patriots.

I know I have talked about this before but it is important. Where are all the important papers of your life? If something should happen to you do your children, your parents, your spouse, your partner, or your sister know where all the important stuff is kept?

This is not just a problem for the elderly. Having someone in your life that can access your important stuff is crucial at every age. And is your important stuff organized and filed so they can find it? You don’t want them to have to ransack your home looking for your important papers.

What about a list of the important people and their phone numbers and addresses. For example, you live in Massachusetts and your son lives in Virginia. If something should happen to him do you have his friends’ phone numbers, his next-door neighbor’s number? A list of the important people in his life. His doctor? Does he have that information for you? You may never need it, but and buts are always big, if it’s ever needed…..

Now consider what would happen if you had an accident in Virginia while visiting this week for Thanksgiving and needed someone here in Massachusetts to find your important documents. Could you tell them exactly where to find them? Could they pay the bills while you convalesced in Virginia?

Have you done your estate planning? A recent survey finds that only 40% of Americans have wills. If you don’t have a will the state you reside in when you die has one prepared for you by state law.

Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney and have you signed a Health Care Proxy? These are important documents. A power of attorney allows someone to act on your behalf legally and financially if you should be become incapacitated.

A health care proxy allows someone to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make those decisions. You can download copies of the Massachusetts Health Care Proxy and bring them with you for everyone on Thanksgiving.

One more thing:  Just mention Terri Schiavo and you get a reaction from people.

The Florida Supreme Court got involved, the Governor of Florida and the President. Do you want these people messing in your life and telling your family what to do?

They have Tupperware parties why not Health Care Proxy parties! Once you have these documents let the important people in your life know where you keep them.

Check out my website and download the worksheet Document Locator.


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