Investors should plan for the possibility that they will suffer from illness or diminished capacity, suggests a new bulletin from U.S. authorities.

The bulletin aims to help investors and consumers understand the potential impact of a diminished ability to make financial decisions, and to encourage them to plan for this possibility well before it happens.

It was jointly issued Monday by the Washington, D.C. –based U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office for Older Americans.

Planning ahead may help investors stay in control of their own finances, even if diminished financial capacity becomes a serious problem, the bulletin suggests.

Investors should organize important documents so that they are accessible in an emergency; provide financial advisors with trusted emergency contacts; and consider creating a durable financial power of attorney, the bulletin advises.

It also provides advice to those who are seeking to help a relative or friend that is suffering from diminished financial capacity.

Caregivers can help with ongoing financial responsibilities, such as paying bills, reviewing investment portfolios in light of changing financial and medical situations, assessing portfolio risks and alerting financial advisors to changing conditions with clients, the bulletin suggests.

“This is critical so that the financial professional can make recommendations appropriate to the client’s financial needs and can watch for signs of declining financial skills or potential abuse,” the bulletin says.