Watching someone you love get older can be a very difficult experience, but also one that we all will inevitably go through at some point in our lives. It certainly can have its challenges and sometimes thinking about the financial side is the last aspect anyone wants to discuss. In this series I’d like to provide with a few different ideas you should be thinking about and then consider raising in discussion. I appreciate sometimes these discussions can be very difficult. However, when it comes to protecting the person and their own financial livelihood, these conversations can be not only positive but can also take a large share of the worry away in a very difficult time.
1) Wills and Power of Attorney
You’ve heard me discuss Wills before and how important they are. I don’t need to rehash this apart from saying there needs to be a will, it needs to be up to date and clear. In addition to Wills, having a Lasting Power of Attorney is also very important. If someone loses mental capacity and is still alive it can be very difficult (or even impossible) for any relatives or loved ones to make financial or health decisions for them. Powers of attorney solve this issue and can take away a significant amount of pain. The key issue with powers of attorney is they need to be made whilst your loved one still has capacity – please don’t wait until its too late.
2) Review current policies and position
A major consideration that is worth looking into is reviewing the current policies your elderly relative has. Are they still paying for a scheme that is now not relevant and/or out of date? I’ve come across many situations where relatives look at bank accounts and find direct debits still going out to places that ceased to be relevant a long time. It also may be helpful to start collating all their assets or documents into once place so at least you and they are aware of the current financial position. In my role, I have been handed folders and even boxes full of documents a number of times with the comment “that’s everything, we’re not sure how much it’s worth but that’s all the paperwork.”
Here is a list of key documents to locate: Will, Power of attorney, life insurance, other insurance (health, house, car), pension details (both state and private), tax returns, property deeds, mortgage information (if relevant), bank accounts, share certificates, endowments and/or other investment accounts.
Once you have the documentation its also worth putting together a list of income, assets, insurance policies and names of professional advisers (accountants, lawyers etc) who have helped your relative in the past. That way all the basic details are in one place and you’ve got a good idea on the current financial position.
Coming next week.. funding care and inheritance planning.