Most of our clients are caregiver children of aging parents and contact us after a medical crisis occurs. The children are typically scrambling to understand their parents’ finances in order to pay bills, determine which accounts still exist, pay taxes, and determine how to afford potential long-term care expenses.
We recommend discussing finances with their parents before a crisis occurs. If you have aging parents sit with them and let them know that you're interested in helping and that you will need to know certain information to do so in the event they can no longer care for themselves.
Essential documents that you'll need:
Power of Attorney [POA] for both financial and health care;
These are two of the most essential documents that you can have and without them you will not be able to access your parents resources and may not even have the ability to communicate with financial institutions or doctors at all. It's imperative that you have these documents created, if you already have them, get them reviewed and updated. Many institutions will not accept POA documents that are more than a year old and the language needed for proper planning may need to be changed sine it was last created.
Information to gather:
- all bank accounts [checking, savings, money markets, etc. account numbers and financial institution name]
- all investment accounts [401k, stocks, bonds, IRA, CD's etc.]
- pension income information
- social security income information
- life insurance policies
- pre-paid or pre-planned burial
The above is some of the information that will be needed. For a more complete list, contact us to discuss your family's current situation, our elder care office can help your family if you are in a crisis situation. However, by planning ahead, it will make the future much more easier to handle for a both the parent and child.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an excellent article about planning for parents in a crisis situation.