Now Is The Time

Well, it’s a new year. Maybe you are not a resolution type person. That consistency thing is tough. If you are a caregiver now or just becoming increasingly involved with your parents’ affairs, take an inventory of where key information is located. It won’t hurt to do the same for yourself. One and done, right?

Determine if your parents have an up-to-date estate plan:
  • Will or Trust,
  • Durable Power of Attorney,
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive and
  • HIPAA Release

If so, actually locate all the documents and store them in a safe place. If there is a Trust, is it funded with assets? Scan a copy of the plan to yourself, with their permission of course. If there is no plan or it is old, make an appointment with an Elder Law Attorney for your parents. Do this now.

Find and make copies of key demographic documents:

  • Social Security Card
  • Medicare Cards
  • Up-to- date picture ID
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Decree
  • Death Certificate, and
  • Annual Award Letters for
  • Pension and Social Security
  • Income.

Take pictures of each and save them to your phone and/or cloud storage.

Make a list of financial assets. Find who the advisor is for each type of asset and their current contact information. Provide the bank and investment advisor with a copy of the Durable Power of Attorney.

For insurance type assets, find, or request, a copy of the related policies. Have your parents requested a copy of all beneficiary designations for assets such as insurance and retirement? Bring each policy current as to who the insured is, who are the additional insureds, and limits of coverage, and the identity of the intended beneficiary.

Determine who the active healthcare providers are for your parents. Provide each with a copy of the Advanced Healthcare Directive and HIPAA Release. Make a list of your parents’ medications and chronic health problems and save the information to your phone and/or cloud storage. And finally, take a picture of your parents, their cars, and the license plate for each.

There. Your estate planning is done – for now. Congratulations.