If your parents are elderly and in poor health, they may need some help organizing and updating their paperwork. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) suggests that lending your parents a hand with this task may be one way you can help even if you live out-of-state and not able be assist in their day-to-day care. Updated paperwork is also helpful to you and other caregivers in the case of a medical crisis or if you are asked to weigh-in on financial, legal or other medical decisions.
The experts offer several tips on what you need to gather and should include your parents’ medical records and a current list of medications and dosages. Also you want any record of their sources of income and assets such as bank accounts, pensions, life insurances, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other investments. You additionally will need a list of their liabilities including if they own a home, find out what their monthly/annual obligations are including mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance.
This is a good time to find out if they have a will or to discuss with them any plans they may have already made or need to make regarding advance directives including a durable power of attorney. Planning for future health care decisions is important as it ensures a person gets the medical care they want if they are unable to speak for themselves.
You will probably need to plan on spending some time with your parents in order to get everything organized but it will be worth it in the long run. The NIA cautions that older people can be protective of their personal and financial information so be respective. Try to get them to understand that you are not being nosy but rather want to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
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