Organizing Your Elderly Parent’s Information
You may be noticing the signs that your elderly parents need help.
Think about all the questions and information you would need if your parents suddenly passed or became incapacitated.
• Are your parents neat and organized with a filing system so you can find everything?
• Do you know where to to begin looking for the information you need?
• Are your parents secretive?
• Do your parents have jewelry, money, or other valuables hidden in the house?
• Do they have a Safe Deposit Box?
You need to get answers to your questions long before a potential crisis happens and help your parents organize their documents and information.
Get Access and Contact Information
You or the person holding Durable Power of Attorney will need access to computer accounts and financial records. Start by asking these questions:
• What is their computer login?
• Do they bank, pay bills or handle investments online? If so, what are the accounts and passwords?
• Where are copies of their federal and state income tax filings for the last three years?
• Do they have an accountant? What is the accountant’s contact information?
• Do they own life insurance? Where are the policies?
• Where are their homeowner’s and car insurance policies?
• Where are their health insurance policies? Also make copies of the front and back of their health insurance cards.
• Who handles their investments? What is their investment advisers contact information?
• Do they have bonds or stock certificates in the house?
• If they own property, do they have a mortgage, equity loan or reverse mortgage?
• Where are any real estate deeds and property tax information?
• If they own a vehicle, boat or land, where are the titles or deeds and registration?
• Do they have any bank loans?
• Have they given or taken any personal loans? To and from whom? How much is owed?
• Do they have credit card debt? Also make copies of the front and back of any card cards.
• Do they make regular payments to any person, business or organization?
• Do they have a pension?
• With which banks do they have accounts for checking, savings and CD’s? You will need the names of the institutions and account numbers, and PINs numbers for their ATM cards.
• Are membership dues, subscriptions, donations or purchases subtracted directly from their bank account?
• Have they been a customer of other banks or brokerages in the past?
• Do they have a Will and where is it?
• Do they have a Durable Power of Attorney for health care?
• Do they have an attorney? Is the attorney holding their will or other important documents?
• Are any assets in a trust?
• Do they have a safety deposit box? Where are the keys, locations, and any other information needed for access?
• Do they have a burial plot and any prepaid funeral plans?
• Where are their Social Security cards, passport’s? Also make copies of their driver licenses.
• Where are other important documents such as education and military records, marriage license, and
• Are there any hiding places in the house, yard, garage or car for money and valuables?
• Where are any valuables such as jewelry and artwork?
Create Contact Lists
Make up contact lists of all important people and institutions you may need to reach:
• Contact information of friends and clergy.
• Contact information for health care: doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and pharmacies.
• Contact list of attorneys, investment advisors, accountants, etc.
Sort And Store Documents
Everyone has their own approach to organizing. For some a filing box maybe better and for other’s a notebook and a 3 hole punch.
• First sort the documents into like kind piles by category.
• With everything divvied up by category, put each stack in chronological order with newest on top.
• Label dividers or files folders, one for each category that applies.
• Punch holes on the left side of each record if using a binder. Put in chronological order in the appropriate section.
Each of these should be in separate folder or section:
• Pension Statements — Contact information: the firm handling distribution, the person in charge of account, and job or union where pension was earned.
• 401(k)/ IRA Retirement Accounts — Contact information: brokers, financial institutiosn and financial adviser’s names, firms, and phone numbers.
• Insurance Policies — Long-term care, health, home, vehicle, and life policies. Contact information: agents, policy numbers, phone numbers.
• Credit Card Statements — Contact information for lost or stolen card hotline and account numbers.
• Social Security or Disability — Records of direct deposit or checks received.
• Bank Account Statements — Contact information: local branch banker, account numbers.
• Bills — Including account numbers for utilities, cable, department store and credit cards. Contact and other information: amount and due date for state and local property tax, with number for tax adviser, and the phone number, email address and address of the property tax bureau to which they are paid. Make note of any payments automatically withdrawn from a checking account or charged to a credit card, such as memberships, subscriptions and charity donations.
• Warrantees — File unexpired important warrantees for items such as: appliances, windows, roof, kitchen cabinets, sprinkler system, security cameras, electronics, medical equipment, stair climber.
• Legal Documents — The location of Wills or trusts, information on any ongoing lawsuits or settlements, attorney fees paid and due. Contact information for attorney names, firms, phone number and emails.
• Loans — Payment books and statements. Contact information: customer service numbers, loan numbers, account passwords if they are paid online.
• Mortgage — Statements, updates such as the sale of the mortgage, monthly due date, balloon payment due date, payoff date. Contact information: customer service number and account numbers.
• Personal Loans — Signed agreements and payments made. Contact information: names and phone numbers.
Keeping Track Of And Money And Receipts
On a large manila envelope write: Care recipient’s name, the year and “Tax Deductible.”
• Put the current year’s medical receipts that your loved one, or you, if the person is a dependent, can deduct from taxes. Record tax-deductible miles driven, tolls and parking fees in a digital or paper calendar or datebook.
Check For Lost Money
Some $43 billion in lost money is sitting in banks and state accounts waiting for the rightful owner to claim it. These funds may be an unclaimed paychecks, abandoned bank and investment account, a tax or other refunds, an inheritance, an unclaimed prizes.
The name of the bank of institution may be unfamiliar as many banks have been bought and merged.
To see if your loved one is among those due, go to MissingMoney.com
About Unique HomeCare Services
Unique HomeCare Services provides in-home care for elders, those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and people who are recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery.
We offer a full range of in-home care services such as personal care, grooming and incontinence care, bathing and dressing, post-hospitalization care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, and medication management.
We also provide non-medical support services such as meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, caring companionship, shopping/errands, accompanying to medical and other appointments, as well as case management services.
It is our pleasure to assist our veteran clients with VA Aid and Attendance Benefit approval at no cost.
Our service area is Boston, Norwood, Dedham, Westwood, Walpole, Canton, Sharon, Stoughton, Avon, Braintree, Easton, Milton, Quincy, Weymouth, and surrounding towns.
To schedule a no cost and no obligation full In-Home Assessment to determine the home care needs of you or your loved one please call us at (800) 296-9962 to speak to a Case Manager or fill out our Free Quote Contact Form.