Three estate planning questions to ask your parents right now.
Caring for aging parents poses many questions, some of which you want to get out of the way early on. An article in The Oprah Magazine,titled“Sanity-Saving Secrets For Caring For Your Aging Parents,” suggests three questions to ask your parents right now.
1. Do you have a living will? There are about 72% of seniors who already have advance directives specifying end-of-life medical wishes, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging. That’s terrific, but make sure your parents are in that group. As long as you’re on the subject, see if their documents have been revised in the last five years and that you know its location.
2. Where's the money? Ok, maybe you can phrase this question a bit more gently. On the other hand, start with your parents' latest tax return to get an overview of their assets. Your parents should make a list of all of their account numbers. This should include savings and checking accounts, credit cards, and investments such as 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, and insurance policies. In addition, compile a list of the phone numbers for the customer service department at each financial institution or investment company. If they conduct their banking online, you also need to find out their passwords (or, at a minimum, make sure they add this information to a secure document you can access if needed).
3. Who are your advisers? You should make sure to get the names and contact information of the professionals on whom your parents rely.
The list of advisors can include any and all of the following:
- An accountant or CPA;
- A spiritual adviser;
- A primary care physician or other specialists; and
- A qualified estate planning attorney.
You may need to coordinate all of the players on the legal, financial and healthcare team, and all of the other information gathered as you try to ensure your parents have the care they need in the future.
Reference: Huffington Post, The Oprah Magazine (December 19, 2014) “Sanity-Saving Secrets For Caring For Your Aging Parents”