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Life can change in an instant.

Here are a few examples we have seen in the past few months.

1. A teenager suffers a devastating accident while riding in a boat.

2. A healthy 72-year-old suffers a sudden and mysterious blood clot.

3. Out of nowhere, a 58-year-old falls to the floor with excruciating chest pain.

The list goes on.

As Candid Camera’s Allen Funt used to say, “when you least expect it” disaster happens. It happens every day in Napa. Suddenly someone faces a life changing crisis.

John and I have created a “senior care checklist” which helps document what you might need if one of these crises hit you or a loved one.

Although there are several sections to this checklist, here are just a few documents you or your caretakers might need if one of these life-changing events strikes.

The first is your estate planning documents.

They may include a will, living trust, living will or power of attorney. You may know where they are, but you may be unable to communicate it. Let your caretaker know where these documents are located.

Your other important papers may be helpful to those who are helping you with your issues.

That includes your income tax returns, your most recent financial statements and insurance policies. If you are normal, these documents are in different places and finding them may be a treasure hunt.

It may be helpful to have a list of your current health issues and medications that you currently take. Don’t count on your family member knowing your doctors’ names and their specialties. Make of list of each and what meds they have prescribed.

It may be helpful to have an emergency contact list too. This list might also include allergies you have.

Something as simple as creating a list with the location of your financial accounts, insurance policies and other important financial documents is always a good idea. Don’t forget account numbers and passwords.

Heaven forbid, you might also include your funeral and burial instructions. Of course, this would include any pre-paid arrangements.

You may think your will or trust includes all the information, but they most likely do not. Including a list of your beneficiaries, income tax records and other important documents like property records may be helpful and time-saving for your loved ones.

It is not much fun to think about these things. It may seem kind of morbid and a real “downer,” but your family will appreciate all the detail.

One of my early mentors used to say “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Don’t fail on any account.

If you would like a copy of the entire senior care checklist just send us a note, or call.

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Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155, Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.