If your care recipient is one of those rare souls who has organized financial records, be grateful.
But if bills, receipts, tax returns, bank and retirement account statements, pension info and Social Security updates are in random order or stored in different, perhaps forgotten, places, do yourself — and your loved one, and the person with durable power of attorney — a big favor: Corral the paperwork and organize it in a way that incoming money and bills due will be evident at a glance.
Let the paper chase begin.
Step 1: Get access
You or the person holding durable power of attorney will need access to computer accounts and financial records. Start by asking your loved one these questions.
- What is your computer login?
- Do you bank, pay bills or handle investments online? If so, what are the passwords?
- Where are copies of your federal and state income tax filings for the last three years?
- Do you own life insurance?
- Who handles your investments?
- Do you have bonds or stock certificates in the house?
- If you own property, do you have a mortgage, home equity loan or reverse mortgage?
- If you own a vehicle, boat or land, where are the titles or deeds and registration?
- Do you have any bank loans?
- Have you given or taken any personal loans? To or from whom? How much is owed?
- Do you have credit card debt?
- Do you make regular payments to any person, business or organization?
- At which banks do you have accounts?
- Are membership dues, subscriptions, donations or purchases subtracted directly from your bank account?
- Have you been a customer of other banks or brokerages in the past?
- Do you have a will? Where is it?
- Do you have an attorney? Is the firm holding your will or other important documents?
- Are your assets in a trust?
Step 2: Find and sort
Find the following and designate a place to keep and work with them.
- Bank records and statements
- Tax returns
- Keys and combinations for safes or safe deposit boxes
- Passwords for computers, online accounts and social media
- Titles and deeds for any property
- Stock certificates
- Insurance policies