If your parents are still healthy and active, use this checklist of questions to help you prepare for a time when they may depend on you more.
So your parents are getting into their 70s and 80s and you still haven’t discussed how they want to live when it is clear that they need assistance. It is a sensitive topic however it is likely that they will need you to handle their affairs if they die or become incapacitated. Here is a checklist of topics that would be worthwhile discussing with your aging parents while you still can.
Below is a checklist, excerpted from my book “If Something Happens to Me,” that will help you get started.
- Make a list of all accounts and where they are held
- Get contact information for their advisers
- Consolidate and simplify accounts where possible
- Make sure the accounts are titled correctly
- Offer to sit in on a meeting with their financial adviser to review investments, make sure the asset allocation is appropriate and make sure there are adequate resources to support your parents’ lifestyle
- Review Social Security benefits
- Make sure all beneficiary designations are up-to-date
- Streamline bill paying
- Make a list of all insurance policies (life, health, long-term care, etc.) and where they are located
- Get contact information for their insurance advisers
- Offer to sit in on a meeting with their insurance adviser to see if a long-term care insurance policy would be appropriate
- Review homeowners, auto and umbrella liability insurance to make sure they are adequate, appropriate and up-to-date.
- Review health insurance coverage and consider whether it would be appropriate to add a Medigap policy to pay for costs not covered by Medicare
- Do they have a will or estate plan?
- If so, does it reflect their current wishes (i.e. does it pass property to the correct people and have the correct people taking charge)?
- Do they have an up-to-date durable power of attorney for finance?
- Do they have an up-to-date durable power of attorney for health care?
- Does their health care power of attorney contain a health-care directive that spells out their wishes for life-prolonging care?
- Is the current housing situation suitable?
- Do any changes, updates or modifications need to be made to the house?
- Have they made contingency plans for illness, disability or death of a spouse?
- Is there money available to pay for those contingencies (e.g. savings or long-term care insurance)?
- Make a list of their doctors as well as any medications they are taking
- Help coordinate benefits between care providers and insurance companies