Caring for another person can be a difficult task. Sometimes, it helps to make a list! Following is a caregiver’s checklist that I compiled to assist my mother after my father passed away. While most of these items have been “checked off” of our list, I thought I’d share what we’ve done.
Update your Will.
After Dad passed away, Mom and I met with an attorney to update her will. There are online options for this also, but, depending on the size of the estate and how the assets are to be dispersed, it never hurts to see a professional.
Make a healthcare power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.
If you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your healthcare wishes are in place. A durable power of attorney for finances will give your named advocate the authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs. Your attorney can assist you with these documents.
Consider life insurance.
Make sure there’s enough life insurance to cover funeral expenses and any other outstanding debts. Life insurance usually pays out quickly with minimal paperwork.
Make final arrangements.
Never a pleasant task, but if your final arrangements – such as organ donation and disposition of your body – are already in place, the executive of your estate or family members will not have to guess at what you’d like done.
Create a financial asset notebook.
Have a notebook (or file folder) with at least one statement from each bank account, investment account, IRAs, insurance statement, outstanding debts, etc. A good time to create this is tax time each year. Think of it as a “yearly checkup.” Review all listed beneficiaries on your accounts to verify they are accurate and complete. Contact a qualified CPA or financial adviser with any questions or concerns with your estate plan.
Make an inventory of any safety deposit boxes.
This is another housekeeping item and will assist in “knowing what’s where.”
Create and keep an updated list of all medicines being taken.
My mother used the program called “Vial of Life.” Her list is in the refrigerator. Also included are doctors names and phone numbers.
Get your calendars in sync.
Review the specific things that must be done daily, weekly, or monthly. Assign the responsibility for getting each done to someone. My sister and I share the responsibility to help Mom with doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, and general household chores. Mom is also blessed with a wonderful group of friends and church members that help support one another.
Creating this caregiver’s checklist has made me reevaluate my own estate plan. Organization is key. Getting your estate plan completed when you’re healthy will guarantee that you will be taken care of according to your wishes – just in case life gets a little more complicated.