All the Essentials – Information to Gather For Your Parents

There may come a time when you need to know more about your dad’s personal and financial matters—who his lawyer is, where his safe deposit box key is hidden, what he’s invested in. Knowing the scope and the location of this information will help you be more prepared if a crisis situation arises. Use this checklist to track down essential information about your dad and his affairs.

Financial

  1. Financial agent(s): Your dad’s financial advisors will be invaluable resources as you work together to chart a plan for your dad’s future. Learn who he relies on, such as his banker, insurance agent, or attorney, and introduce yourself, if possible.
  2. Accounts: Identify the various accounts your dad has and the institutions they’re with. Note if any accounts require action, such as an upcoming balloon payment, a required distribution, or a large outstanding balance.
  3. Login credentials: Record the login information for any online accounts.
  4. Tax returns: Know where your dad’s most recent tax returns are filed. If he had assistance preparing the returns, also note the preparer’s name or company.
  5. Monthly budget and expenses: Get a sense of your dad’s monthly household cash flow. If he’s moving into a senior community or assisted living residence, this can help you choose options that he can afford.

Domestic

  1. Home/land ownership: Know the location of deeds to any property holdings. If the family home still has a mortgage, identify the number, the issuer, and the outstanding balance.
  2. Valuable possessions: Create a log of your dad’s valuable possessions—a smart thing for anyone to have in the event of theft or damage. If your dad moves, this step also will ensure that nothing valuable gets tossed in the shuffle.
  3. Keys and combinations: Record the combinations to any home safes or the location of keys to locked drawers. Know where the safe deposit box keys are as well.
  4. Important document: Identify where your dad’s key papers are, including:
    1. Birth certificates
    2. Marriage certificates
    3. Automobile titles
    4. Insurance policies
    5. Social Security card
    6. Retirement documents
  5. Utilities: Record your dad’s utility providers and the login credentials for any online accounts.
  6. Pets: Learn any specific care instructions for your dad’s pet, and get the vet’s contact information.

Legal

  1. Legal contacts: Record the contact information for your dad’s primary lawyer or elder law lawyer. He or she may hold possession of essential documents, such as:
  2. Health care directive or living will—If possible, keep a copy of this vital document in your own files: It details your dad’s preferences for treatment during a medical emergency or a prolonged health event.
  3. Power of Attorney—Note who your dad has designated as his representative through a durable power of attorney (a person who can make decisions about his financial and property matters) and a health care power of attorney (someone who can make health care decisions for your dad).
  4. Will—Know where your dad’s will is and ensure that it’s current, as it will specify his executor and his final wishes.

Health

  1. Prescription information: Learn what medications your dad is taking, the dosage, and the name of the prescribing doctor.
  2. Health professionals: Create a contact list of your father’s primary doctor and health care specialists, their addresses, and phone numbers.

As you’re compiling this information with your dad, consider creating one document that lists all pertinent contact information and login credentials. Keep several versions both at his home and yours, including printed copies and digital documents on a USB drive.

If your parent is considering a move to a senior living community or an assisted living residence, there may be additional documents or accounts you’ll want to locate. Contact Life Care Services for assistance in making the transition as smooth as possible for him.

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