Forbes recently asked its readers whether they could pick up where their parents leave off. It’s an odd question, and one that a lot of children won’t have asked themselves yet.
The point Forbes is making is that parents don’t simply leave an estate behind when they die. They leave a whole life behind, too. And someone has to tend to that.
The article described a baby boomer who was vacationing overseas when she found out her elderly mother had suffered serious brain damage after a fall. Fortunately, the mother survived and recovered, but the daughter suddenly realized that she was totally unprepared to handle her mother’s affairs had something gone horribly wrong.
But Forbes isn’t talking about just an estate plan. The mother in this story already had all that — the will, the trusts, the healthcare proxy, and so on.
But what about the deed to her house? The list of bills that would need to be paid? Automatic drafts from her bank account? Keys to her property? Newspaper subscriptions? Credit cards? Community responsibilities? Documents related to a small business that a parent might own?
Your parents will leave whole lives behind when they pass. The little details can add up to a lot, and it can be a challenge to keep track of them all during the final years of a loved one’s life.
Communication is really the key when caring for an aging parent. Remember that no detail is too minor to bother with addressing now. You’ll likely be grateful that you did.
Each of my clients receives an Estate Planning Binder at the conclusion of our planning. This binder has sections that can be completed so that all the personal information someone might need is collected in one location.