Get Organized – Don’t Wait: Get Your Parent’s Documents In Order

If you are like me (or many of us) our parents are more active and often healthier than their parents were.

While that is great, there is not excuse put off an important conversation with them now about their finances and wishes…before an event or emergency makes it an urgent necessity. Take it from me, when my dad became suddenly ill in 1995, he had very little time to get organized get and his things in order. While he was organized and prepared, if my sisters and I had a conversation with him years earlier, those months while he was ill would have been much less stressful.

The conversation does not have to be morbid or sad.

Start by saying you want to make sure you are prepared in case anything were to ever happen to them where they need you to step in and help out. Tell them you just want to be there for them and this is a way to make sure you can do that and carry out whatever wishes they may have.

Here is a list of the basic items you will want to talk to them about and make sure you have copies of this information or know where they are located:

1. A will

2. Health Care Directive – so you know who (it may be you) makes decisions with regard to care if they cannot. Critical to have for any hospital visit.

3. Power of Attorney – so people can make financial and legal decisions on their behalf if need be.

4. List of assets and who to contact for financial information

5. Insurance information – including health, medicare, homeowners, life, and long term care

6. Medical history – including medications they are taking

7. Location of important documents and items – for example passports, keys to safety deposit box

Don’t wait to do this. It is not an easy conversation but everyone will feel better once it is discussed and handled.

You can also look at our product, Life.doc, which is a great road map to help you with the important information you need to collect. I have one now for my mom (she is 89 and has dementia) and it is a lifesaver.