As you age, you may find your parents struggling with illness as they age as well. As their daughter, you may be responsible for their care. The emotional and financial strain can be exhausting and the commitment may compromise your career. It can be difficult know where to start when helping your aging parents. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:
- What institutions hold your assets?
- Ask your parents for a list of their bank, brokerage, and retirement accounts, including account numbers and online usernames and passwords, if applicable.
- You should also know where to find their insurance policies (life, home, auto, disability, long-term care), Social Security cards, titles to their house and vehicles, outstanding loan documents, and past tax returns. If your parents have a safe-deposit box or home safe, make sure you can access the key or combination.
- Do they currently work with any financial, legal, or tax advisors? If so, get a list of names with contact information.
- Do they have a durable power of attorney? A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows a named individual (such as an adult child) to manage all aspects of a parent’s financial life if he or she becomes disabled or incompetent.
- Do they have a will? If so, find out where it’s located and who is named as executor. If it’s more than five years old, your parents may want to review it to make sure their current wishes are represented. Ask if they have any specific personal property disposition requests that they want to discuss now.
- Are their beneficiary designations up-to-date? Designated beneficiaries on insurance policies, pensions, IRAs, and investments trump any instructions in your parents’ wills.
- Do they have an overall estate plan? A trust? A living trust can help manage an estate while your parents are still living.
(Questions from 360 degrees of financial literacy)
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