What are some important financial questions to ask?

Follow
Share

My father has given me Power of Attorney. With his time left growing shorter, I wanted to sit down with him with a list of questions of things I need to know to help Mom (who has dementia) live as comfortable as possible after he's gone. I also have Power of Attorney for her.


I know things such as where his will is located. I'm concerned about having a "I wish I'd asked about this before he passed away" moment since he handles all the financial affairs at home now.


I just wondered if anyone knew of a checklist to assist someone new to this. Thanks.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
10

Answers

Show:
URLs, user names, and passwords for all online accounts that your dad has. And the user name and password for the computer itself and the email account, if there is one.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Jeff, something off topic but which you might want to consider as you're addressing your father's finances... You mentioned that his time is growing shorter; if you haven't already, you might want to prepare medical histories for both your parents, with copies that you keep as well as left at their home for any EMTs and emergencies.

I started this when my parents traveled south for the winter, and still do it. I've listed the important personal information, including Medicare and Medicap Plan policy numbers, my contact information, backup contact persons and information, pacemaker insertion and technical data as well as manufacturer and serial numbers, plus meds, allergies and reaction, current and past significant medical conditions, chronic conditions, surgeries, other important issues such as family illnesses (cardiac, respiratory, cancer, etc.), and lastly a list of treating physicians and contact numbers.

I also keep copies of powers of attorney and health care directives in the small 1/2" binder, which accompanies me to every ER visit.

In the more extensive medical files I've divided all the medical issues by category (cardiac, pulmonary, ophthalmological, orthopedic, etc., with copies of x-ray printouts, blood work analysis, etc.

It's been very helpful for me.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Jeff, go face to face with Dad will all of our questions above. My mistake was I had put the questions into 3-ring red binder form with separation sections, questions all printed out with space underneath to fill out the answers.

Well, when my Mom passed recently I grabbed that red binder and found that Dad didn't answer one thing.... [sigh].

Did did tell me he wanted to be buried in Iowa. "Ok, Dad, thanks for narrowing that down" :P

I had to start doing my Dad's bill paying when I found Dad had put current bills into the recycling bin, and later I found over-due bills in the wastebasket. Oops. Time to take over this job.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Jeff, as to your interim question re adding your name to his accounts...I would advise yes, other than any IRAs or Trust (if any) accounts, which are treated differently. I don't recall the process of getting access to those as it was sometime ago, but it's obviously not the same as holding title jointly.

If I recall correctly, I can contact the holder directly for IRA information and transactions but not for the funds held in the name of the Trust.

Windy and FF have given good advice; you have a thorough list of how to proceed now. And I do think your father will feel comforted with your professional approach to handling his finances for him.

As to failing bodies...well, let's just say that sometimes I wish Borg technology was for real!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you all. I'm grateful Dad's mind is sharp. It's his body which is failing him. I am going to visit tomorrow with a printout of freqflyers list to get it rolling.

I know it'll give him peace of mind knowing I take my job seriously and want to make sure Mom won't have to add stress to her life.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Great question Jeff. Everyone with aging parents should be thinking about this.

You've already gotten great checklists but just think about all the documents and info someone would need to take over for you. Medical info, utilities, insurances payments etc. Start collecting copies of EVERYTHING you can imagine so you can take care of all your parents affairs in the future.

If your Dad is cooperative that is great. If he's not, do it anyway on the sly.

I was able to get my Dad to make me a co signer on his accounts just before his dementia got worse. I was very lucky to get in just under the wire. Now it would be impossible to get his cooperation on ANYTHING and I'm now handling the bills and finances. But I did have to collect lots of info without his knowledge using my POA. He had made a big mess of the finances.

Get to work, good instincts and good luck.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Jeff, you asked about taking over the finances. I just started doing that now with my Dad. We went to the bank and asked them what do we do in this case. Thus, my name will be on the check as a bill payer.

My Dad has a money market account to which I can go on-line and move money into checking any time Dad has a bill that needs to be paid. I choice a certain bank as their website is so simple to use :) My Dad previous bank the website was a royal challenge to work with.

Gather up a lot of 3-ring binders, and keep copies of everything. I would take a bill invoice and put the check I wrote on top of it and made a xerox copy. I am doing this in case down the road Medicaid might be needed. I want a good paper trail.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Couple years ago I searched for a check list and couldn't find anything. So I created my own with questions for my parents.

1) Where are the locations of parents birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security cards, Medicare and secondary insurance information? Location of Wills, Trusts, is there a Living Will, a DNR form? Any codicils to the Will?

2) Name and address of Elder Law attorney [if any]. Location of Deed to the House. Title to the car(s). Who is the house/car insurance carrier? Any life insurance?

3) Location on information regarding Social Security funds, Pension, 401(k). List of checking/savings accounts [my parents had checking and savings scattered in different banks, try to combine everything into one bank.] Safe deposit box, where is the key, have your name placed on the box, too. Any safe box located at home under the bed or up in a closet, if so where is the key or the combination for the box?

4) List of credit cards, account numbers, bank names, addresses of banks. Where are the credit card statements located? And are there any utilities that are automatically placed on a credit card or pulled from checking for payment? Mortgage on the house, name of mortgage company, amount due? If house mortgage is paid in full, where is the final statement from the mortgage company?

5) Any stocks and bonds? If so, under what financial broker? [My Dad has his stocks scattered everywhere, under no one broker,not easy to keep track of]. Location of any savings bonds.

6) Where are the old Federal Income Tax forms? Is there an Accountant or CPA?

7) Any antique furniture, coins, stamps? If there are coins/stamps, where located?

8) Choice of elder care? Ok to use outside help? Ok to move to "senior living" if parent needs a higher level of care? Ok to hire weekly cleaning people? Is there Long-term care insurance? If so, where located? If you had to move today to a senior living, which place would you want to go?

9) Any pets? Who do they want to take care of the pets? Any funds set aside?

10) Final plans, this is a tough one... is there a cemetery plot? If so where? What funeral home to use? Pre-paid funeral service? Cremation or burial? If cremation, want ashes scattered, if so where? What type of service would parents want? Any perferred charity donation in lieu of flowers?

Hope this helps, maybe others on the forum can add some more items.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This is very helpful and a good start.

As someone with Power of Attorney, do I need to get my name on all his accounts? I'm assuming I will be handling the paying of bills and such going forward.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I created a checklist for preparing taxes, in part so that I don't forget anything, as annual distributions change depending on the stock market.

There are two sources that you can check: his monthly mail and his past tax returns.

For financial funds, there are stocks, mutual, annuities, CDs, money market funds, pension/retirement monthly/annual payments or lump sum distributions, mutual funds, checkings and savings. If he holds stocks in any corporations that have been acquired or sold, there may have been terminal payouts, conversions, new stock issued, etc.

Life insurance policies could be an assortment of types of policies.

Since he does handle his own financial affairs, you might want to sit down with him and create an inventory, with all the relevant data (fund holders, contact information, account information, etc.)

If he has records from the time of purchase, I'd inventory those as well.

Any other physical assets should be included - home obviously, as well as vehicles, boats, trailer or RV, etc.

I feel as though I'm forgetting something, but I'm sure someone else will offer suggestions.

I myself forgot that I had a small pension from part-time teaching decades ago and need to check it out to see it's worth much.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions