Most of us, no matter our age, don’t like to say we’re “old”. We say “mature” or “getting older” or some other euphemism. We associate old age with infirmity and dependency. And we never know who among us will get old and become dependent on others. In the interest of being proactive, we at AgingParents.com have developed a checklist to use while you’re not “old” so you don’t become a burden to the ones who love you. Consider that you do have the capability right now to get these things done before it’s too late to remember what is needed. We call it the Smart Retirees Checklist.
Here are 10 things to do right away.
1- Decide whom you want to communicate with about your future. Set a date and sit down together. Talk about what you want.
2- Have a signed, notarized durable power of attorney.
3- Have a signed advance health care directive, also called power of attorney for healthcare. (You can get basic versions 2 & 3 free on the internet if you need them).
4- Make a list of all bank accounts, passwords, hard drive backup, investment records, and financial planning you have done with associated professionals to contact. Give written permission to your loved ones to talk with your lawyer, accountant, and financial planner. If you are “out of it” these professionals can’t talk to your loved one without permission.
5- Make a list of all insurance policies, including life, disability, health, property, earthquake and anything else you own that will protect your heirs. Give it to a trusted person, like the one you appointed to be your agent as your power of attorney.
6- Make a copy of your mortgage statement, any other loans, and debts, financial statements and bank statement. Keep in one place. Update quarterly-these change. Let your agent know where to find them. If you become incapacitated, someone has to pay the bills.
7- List your physicians, care providers, and medications. Give written permission for your loved ones to speak with your doctors.
8- Create or have on hand information about your wishes for burial or disposition of your remains. Let your loved ones know what you want.
9- Update your will and or trust with a local attorney. Laws change and these need to be up to date in your state. Outdated legal documents cause conflicts and legal battles.
10- Have a family meeting to give items 2-9 to your loved ones and explain them.
If you don’t want to become a burden to your children and other loved ones who might have to help you out when you get “old”, take action now. They will be so relieved if they know what your wishes are and where you keep important documents. A handout of this free checklist is available for download at AgingParents.com, step-checklist-for-smart-retirees/