The thing which could prove an issue is Word documents, as there are so many different formats over the years. I find I can read most now but some don't format correctly so if layout is important try to get PDF version.
How would you get the documents, sent via email? That would probably work fine.
Look at screen size, what would you be happy with... paperback book sized or bigger?
It would be straight text so layout not important. Yes, the documents would be emailed to me.
My husband and I got a Nexus 7 for Christmas so I'll give that a go, but I am wondering whether the weight of the device (presumably heavier than an e-reader?) and screen glare might make reading for a long time difficult?
Screen glare would be a concern. Weight I can't imagine is much difference. How nice it is to hold though could be a factor to consider generally, so going somewhere that you can hold various devices may be useful.
Give the nexus a go. At least then you can see what apps you would need to use to open the files.
There is a new kindle out, Voyage or something like that. Wonder if that would suit.
Maybe not the Voyage then as it looks like it may be tricky to get the documents onto it. That is the general issue with e-readers I feel, they are not designed for you to read things you don't buy from their own bookstore.