Things You Need to Know About Your Parent's Finances Before It's Too Late: A Checklist

Managing your finances is an important part of caring for yourself—and your aging parents. Although many adult children find it difficult to ask aging parents about their finances, it is important to talk to your parents about the future . The following is a checklist of financial information you should ask your aging parents before it’s too late.

Bank Accounts

Checking

Institution

Address

Phone

Contact person

Account #

Name on account

Names on signature card

Bank Accounts: Savings

Institution

Address

Phone

Contact person

Account #

Name on account

Names on signature card

Investments

Where are they? Where is the original document? What are the amounts?

  • CDs
  • IRAs
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds
  • Annuities
  • Real estate
  • Other investments

Safety Deposit Box

Institution

Address

Where is the key?

Who can sign?

Medical Insurance

What type of insurance is it: Medicare, HMO, a pension plan, TRICOR?

Insurer

Policy #

Phone #

Is there a supplemental insurance plan (i.e., Medigap ) that covers the 20% deductible not covered by Medicare ?

Insurer

Policy #

Phone #

Is there a Medicare Part D policy for prescription drugs?

Insurance company

Policy #

Phone #

Web site

Life Insurance Policy

Where is it?

Beneficiary

Long-Term Care Insurance

Insurer

Policy #

Phone #

Agent's name

What does the policy pay for and for how long? How long is the waiting period on the long-term care insurance ? What deficiencies must be present before the policy can be activated (e.g., how many ADLs must the beneficiary need help with)?

Funeral Policy

Where is it kept?

Funeral home

What does it cover?

Most people who think they have a funeral policy have only purchased a plot.

Do the plans involve taking a body to another state?

Find out how: there are laws covering transportation of bodies across state lines.

Is there a plan for the funeral service?

This should include readings, speakers, hymns and location.

Is the obituary written?

This can be written now. It is much easier now than at the time of death.

Income Amount Mailed or direct deposit
Retirement or pension $___________ ____________
Social Security $___________ ____________
Investment $___________ ____________
Other $___________ ____________

Expenses

Mortgage amount $_____________ Monthly payment $_____________
Mortgage company $________________________________
Car loan amount $_____________ Monthly payment $_____________
Other monthly payments $________________________________
Financial Plannert $_____________ Phone # ______________

Trust

Established by

Trust for

Attorney

Phone #

Location of trust

Name of person(s) with copies of trust papers

After gathering this basic information, use it to determine whether the person has adequate income to cover their expenses for the remainder of their life. Keep in mind that most people do not die suddenly in their home. It is much more common to die after a lengthy illness for which in-home care or care in a long-term care facility is required. Can the person afford this? That can be a difficult question to answer, but assessing your financial picture can be helped by finding a financial planner .

Ask about his or her plan for transportation once driving is no longer possible. This is a given, not a maybe. How does your parent plan to get to the doctor's office, to the pharmacy and grocery? Early planning for transportation needs helps prevent fatal traffic accidents and arguments about giving up the keys.