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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, We have just gone through another death in the family, and we are again shown that responsible adults of all ages should plan ahead and gather important legal and financial documents to make this time easier for those who must tend to all the paperwork that follows a death.

So to make it easier for them, you should gather all of your important documents together in one place. Keep originals in a fireproof box at home or in a bank safety deposit box and, for security, make a copy of each important document to keep in another location. Review this file every January to make changes and add additional information. And be sure to tell a trusted family member or friend where your important paperwork is kept. (If something happens to you suddenly, someone will need to be able to access the information immediately.)

Be sure to have a Will, Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive.

Gather all of your Basic Information with documentation containing:

• Full Legal Name, Social Security Number, Date and Location of Birth, Current Address

• Names, Addresses and Phone Numbers of spouse and children

• Family certificates including birth, death, marriage, divorce, citizenship and adoption

• Passports, Licenses (Driver’s, Carry, Hunting, etc.)

• Education Records, List of all employers and dates of employment, Military Records

• Names and phone numbers of doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, religious contacts

• Names and phone numbers of relatives and close friends

• Groups memberships, volunteer activities, and awards received

• Your current medication list, Immunization lists of children and family

• Names of pets, food instructions, and name, address, and phone number of Vet This is Part One of your Planning Guide. Next week Part Two—Financial paperwork.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

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