Role Reversal: Care Giving For Aging Parents
Caring for an aging parent is an obligation few people ever foresee. Many people avoid thinking about parents falling ill or growing weak, and for many families, the discussion typically comes on the heels of a crisis. As a result, most families find themselves ill-prepared to handle their parents’ increased dependency. Helping is more problematic after a crisis, so we’ve found it helpful to advise our clients to start talking while your parents are still healthy and active.
Below is a checklist 1, excerpted from the 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 long-term care policy
- 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
While the future holds many unknowns, one thing you can count on is this – Lenox Advisors is here to help. We have the background, experience, and extensive network to guide you and your loved ones past potential pitfalls while identifying unique opportunities. No matter what strategies we recommend, they will be part of a larger financial plan — one that you lead, based on your goals and your situation.
1 “A simple but thorough checklist to help aging parents...” Aug. 2016 <http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-simple-but-thorough-checklist-to-help- aging-p>.
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