Retiring Wise Blog

Caregiver Preparation

Written By: Guest Author

The older children get, the more they may realize they’ll be responsible for their parents one day. For some, it may be awhile. For others, the time may be fast approaching.

One of the most important ways to prepare is to get your affairs in order while you have the mental and physical capacity to do so. Read our post about wills and living trusts and speak to a financial professional if you have not done so already. For your benefit, and your children’s, here are some simple actions to take to help prepare your children for the responsibility of taking care of you.

Passwords and Account Information

Create a document with a list of your retirement, insurance, and banking information. Put it in a safe place, locked away, and provide access to your child or the person who will be taking care of things in the event of an emergency or your passing.

This is one of the simplest things that children need to have access to and that parents forget to do before it’s too late. Yes, it’s possible to gain access after a parent passes, but it can be a struggle to do so.

“Every year my spouse and I update a folder with two checklists:  one in case we’re dead, and another if we’re incapacitated,” said Doug Nordman, author of “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement.”  “Our daughter and son-in-law know where the folder is (in our desk drawer labeled “In Case Of Emergency”) and where to find our passwords.”

If You Have a Will

Even if you have little to no assets, you’ll still want to have a will drafted by a lawyer. That’s because if there is no will, the assets and liabilities will go into probate where a court will have to decide what to do with them. When there’s a will, the process goes much faster and beneficiaries don’t have to wait as long for their inheritance.

If you have a will, provide a copy of it and make sure you also have the contact information for the attorney who filed it.

Discuss Your Final Wishes

You may think it is too early to think about what your final wishes are or how you would like your life celebrated after you pass. You may think it morbid or scary to create a plan for life support or where you’ll be buried. The truth is, death is inevitable. However, the hardships for your family after can be mitigated with proper planning.

Let your children know if you want to be held on life support and for how long or if you don’t want any unnecessary efforts taken. Talk about what kind of funeral you would like and if you want a traditional burial or a cremation. It may be an uncomfortable discussion, but everyone will feel better when their wishes have been communicated. Or, if you find it too difficult to discuss face to face, include it in an official document they can use as a guide.

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer and owner of www.debtfreeafterthree.com/

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Preparing Your Children for Caregiving