Senior Lifestyle

Wills, Estates and planning for less stress in a Crisis

Written by Dayna C
Last Updated :

The need for seniors to make their important financial papers and passwords accessible to the rest of their families is one of the best decisions you can make.

An older friend’s Husband passed away suddenly, and she had to take over the running of his business. Not only was this extremely stressful to her and their adult children, but she also couldn’t find and didn’t know where to look for, all the important documents and accounts associated with the business and their personal lives.

Making sure that your family and adult children can access bank accounts, insurance policies, passwords, and other important documents helps relieve stress during difficult times, and it’s a responsible step in financial planning and personal care.

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There are so many reasons why seniors should organize their important documents and information for their children. As per the story above, if my friend and her husband had a plan, the stress and distraction would have been less in this crisis. If your older loved one has to be taken to the hospital, there are still bills to pay and insurance to apply for.

Without access, the children or spouse may have difficulty dealing with these issues quickly, which could result in fines or loss of insurance coverage.

Also, when retirees die, managing their assets can be a concern. Properly written wills, as well as access to bank accounts and insurance, can make the probate process much more efficient. The cost of drawing up a will can vary widely depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate, the location, and whether you choose to hire a lawyer or use a do-it-yourself approach.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Wills

For seniors with simple estates, a DIY will might be sufficient as you can use online will-making software or templates, which can cost between $20 to $100. Some websites offer these services for free, but it’s important to make sure they are legitimate and suitable for your needs.

Using a Lawyer for a Simple Will

Hiring a lawyer might cost between $200 and $600 for a straightforward will, depending on your location and the attorney’s rates and this option can provide more personalized advice and peace of mind that your will is legally sound.

Complex Estates

If you have a more complicated estate, such as owning multiple properties or having a large investment portfolio, or needing to set up trusts for your heirs, the costs can be a lot more as legal fees can range from $1,000 to several thousand dollars.

Additional Costs: Drafting a will might also involve other costs, such as notarization fees, and if you’re setting up trusts or other estate planning instruments, those will add to the overall expense.

Prices can depend on where you live, with attorneys in major metropolitan areas typically charging more than those in rural areas. If you decide to go that route, it’s a good idea to shop around and get quotes from several attorneys.

Also many lawyers offer free consultations, which can help you understand the potential costs and benefits before committing.


Wills ensures that the estate is distributed in accordance with the wishes of the deceased and that the family has the means to pay unjustified debts or expenses without delay. Preparation can be a huge plus for the family’s emotional well-being as grief can be a difficult time, and hunting down documents or tackling financial institutions for access can be emotionally difficult.

There are a couple of different ways to organize and share this important information. One old-fashioned way is to use an “emergency” file or safe, which should include all important documents, such as bank account details, insurance policies, deeds, wills, and keys.

Location and usage data should only be shared with trusted family members.

Software solutions are becoming more popular for storing and sharing sensitive data for convenience and security. One of the easiest online solutions is to use secure cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

These services allow users to systematically store documents and access them from anywhere with an Internet connection. They also offer the ability to share folders or files with specific people, allowing controlled access to important documents.

Some families are scanning (digital imaging) older important documents and storing them on external hard drives or in the cloud. Simpler solutions offer services specifically for estate planning and document storage, such as Everplans, Final Roadmap and AfterSteps.

These web-based platforms guide will guide you through the process of collecting and storing important information and documents. They also allow you to choose “surrogate members” – trusted people who can access this information when needed.

These services often have checklists and support to make sure no important information is missed. Password managers are another important tool to help you get organized with this process and services like LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password can store and encrypt login information for everything from social media to banking and they only require you to remember one master password.

Most password managers allow you to share access with trusted people or even provide emergency access where a designated person can ask for access if the account holder can’t respond within a certain timeframe. However, it is essential to balance access with security, and seniors should use strong passwords for each service and make sure the sharing method they choose is safe.

It is also important to keep this information up-to-date and review who can log in to ensure that only trusted people have access.

By using traditional storage methods and modern digital tools, seniors can make sure that their most important information is safe, organized and accessible to family members in case of an emergency or crisis.

About Author

Dayna C
Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years.  Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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