Many of us are home indefinitely and may be attending to projects that would have otherwise gone unnoticed in 2020. Consider rounding up the documents below (or conferring with aging parents as to the whereabouts of these documents). These can be critical when managing any kind of healthcare situation.
Health Insurance policies – most likely, your parent’s hospital and doctor costs will be covered by traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage Plan. If your parent has traditional Medicare, find out whether their coverage includes a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan that covers the Medicare deductibles and co-insurance. Also, review the prescription drug plan to learn what that covers. If your parent has a retirement health insurance plan from another employer, contact the HR department for help in understanding coverage.
Long Term Care policy – this type of coverage mostly pays for custodial help with activities of daily living. Some older plans from the 1990’s may only pay for nursing home care, so be aware of that. Most plans sold in the past 20 years will cover all forms of care from home health care, to assisted living, memory care, hospice, and nursing home care. Please bring any of these plans to me as I will be happy to review them for you.
Bank Assets, Investment Accounts, Life Insurance, Annuities – figure out how much money is available to pay for your parent’s care. Determine which funds are liquid and how you an access the funds. Without a Financial Power of Attorney, you may not be able to exercise control over your parent’s finances. And if you have a Power of Attorney, submit the document to each bank, Investment Company, and insurance company immediately. A Power of Attorney is only as good as the willingness of a financial institution to honor it. Unfortunately, there is no legal requirement that they do so. If a particular institution refuses to honor a properly executed Power of Attorney, engage an elder law attorney to help you.
Health Care Power of Attorney – gives you the authority to make medical decisions for your parents such as choosing or rejecting treatment, dismissing physicians, and selecting rehabilitation facilities.
Living Will – a written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent, also called an “advanced directive”.
Do Not Resuscitate Order – (DNR) – specifies whether a parent wants to be revived if he or she stops breathing.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney – this document gives you the power to manage your parent’s financial affairs. This includes a variety of tasks such as buying and selling assets, paying bills from their bank accounts, or accessing IRA funds. Please make sure this document is “durable”. Durable means that the terms of the document remain in effect even after your parent becomes incapable of making their own decisions.
Trust Documents – if your parents have set up trusts, review them now. Unfortunately, people often set up trusts without properly transferring the intended assets. Check to see if trusts are funded properly. Also, find out if funds can be withdrawn, and by whom. Get in touch with the attorney that drafted the trust, if possible.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Global Retirement Partners, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Global Retirement Partners and Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP) are separate entities from LPL Financial.
Global Retirement Partners employs (or contracts with) individuals who may be (1) registered representatives of LPL Financial and investment adviser representatives of Global Retirement Partners; or (2) solely investment adviser representatives of Global Retirement Partners. Although all personnel operate their businesses under the name Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP), they are each possibly subject to differing obligations and limitations and may be able to provide differing products or services.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.