Published by Taylor Financial Group
Becoming a caregiver can be extremely overwhelming, which is a topic we’ve broached in previous newsletters. Since we know how likely it is for a person to become a caregiver to a loved one at some point in their life, we repeatedly stress the importance of preparing for such an event to our clients. There will undoubtedly be challenges that come along with being a caregiver. But you can make it easier on yourself and your loved one by making sure you gather key information and documents.
Gathering important information about your loved one is the first step. This includes their social security number, birth date, passwords, names of doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, close friends, etc., and any other information that may be necessary to take care of their needs and follow through with their wishes. You should keep all of this information on one document or in one location, like a folder, binder, or electronic file, which will make it easy to refer to when the time comes. For example, our financial planning program, WealthMatch, allows our clients to store this type of information under their profiles, making it easy to access at any time. Click here to use our Family Essential Records Quick-Access Guide, which can help you organize your information.
Try to obtain copies of your loved one’s estate documents. At the least, you should know where the documents are located. For instance, be sure you confirm if their attorney or financial advisor has their estate documents, or if they are located in a safe. The estate plan might include wills, powers of attorney, and trusts, among other documents. Having these easily accessible will help you administer your loved one’s estate when they pass away. It’s also a good idea to review the estate documents with your loved one at least every few years, to make sure that they continue to express your loved one’s wishes.
Get to know your loved one’s medical providers. If possible, go with them to doctors’ appointments and become familiar with their treatment and conditions. It’s also important to have your loved one sign an authorization to release medical information so that you can speak with their doctor’s if it becomes necessary. You should also make sure you know whether your loved one has any other medical documents, like a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a living will, a do-not-resuscitate order, etc., which may also be part of their estate plan.
As your loved one gets older, they may begin to forget to pay bills and take care of other financial matters. So, it’s important to review your loved one’s finances with them, including income and expenses, to determine what needs to be done in case they lose the ability to manage their own money. Gather all information and make a list of insurance policies, bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, etc. You should also find out if they have a financial advisor. If so, you may want to contact their advisor and schedule a family meeting to get a complete picture of their financial situation. We have these types of meetings with our clients all the time, and we encourage clients to have a family meeting when we notice changes in an older client’s financial behavior or ability to understand their financial plan.
Don’t let the idea of becoming a caregiver overwhelm you. We help our clients prepare for all stages of life, including this one. With the help of our financial planning process, WealthMatch, we can provide various types of analysis and even help clients store important information and documents in their very own secured digital vault. Contact us to learn how we can help you prepare for the future.
Forbes, 4 Critical Things To Do Before Becoming a Caregiver, January 22, 2017
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine what is appropriate for you, consult a qualified professional.
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