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Family Support Checklist

| September 29, 2017

Just recently, we were asked if we could compile a list of the things that need to be addressed on every level when you find it necessary to assume physical, emotional, and financial responsibility for your parents. Based on our planning experiences – and especially upon our recent personal experiences – we offer the following as a guideline:

  1. Know where everything is
    • Legal Documents (These should NOT be kept in a safety deposit box.)
      • Wills and/or Trusts
      • Durable Powers of Attorney
      • Medical Powers of Attorney
      • Living Wills also known as Directives to Physicians
      • Social Security Powers of Attorney (We can help you acquire this if needed.)
      • IRS Powers of Attorney (We can help you acquire this if needed.)
      • Government Pension Powers of Attorney (if applicable)
    • Asset Documentation (All bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, safety deposit boxes, minerals, real estate, vehicles, precious metals, business documents etc.) – update with current contact info with account title and account numbers, especially for older assets.
    • Medicare Information/ account title and numbers
      • Supplements or Advantage Plans
      • Prescription Plans

  2. Learn Preferences
    • Professionals used
      • CPA
      • Financial Advisor
      • Attorney
      • Doctors (optometrist, dentist, family practitioner, specialists)
    • Services used
      • Garbage & Utilities
      • Lawn
      • House Cleaner
      • Other

  3. Review titling and beneficiaries on all assets (Often overlooked, this is a critical piece that if missed can create havoc and unnecessary costs or liabilities.)
    • Example 1- A checking account should not have you or any other person other than you parents listed as the owner. This creates unnecessary liability exposure.
    • Example 2- TOD accounts, Life Insurance, IRAs and other contract property will supersede a will and could cause unplanned disinheritance.
    • Example 3- If the proceeds from a retirement account go to an estate, it could cause the entire account to be taxed in one year.

  4. Have the hard discussions (with ALL children present)
    • What is to happen if long-term care is needed? How will it be paid for?
    • End of life wishes such as “do not resuscitate” and choices made in the Living Will.
    • Funeral and Burial Wishes
    • Anything unsaid that needs to be said.

  5. Determine if you need to seek professional help for further planning, review or asset protection

This checklist may seem intimidating, but the alternative can be dreadful – and its existence can be an absolute blessing.  When my grandmother passed away last year, one of the best gifts she left to us was a massive notebook locked in a fireproof safe. It contained everything from her burial plan and wishes, to copies of every policy and asset she owned. Over the years, Grandmommy had made note of changes and made handwritten lists of personal bequeaths with sweet anecdotes and her strong desire that all five of the mixed bag of siblings would work together and love one another. As a life planning firm, it is our mission to help you take the essential steps needed to face each of life’s stages with confidence and clarity. Please call us with any questions or comments you might have.