This is a continuation from the previous Part I article. Here are some more “Things to Consider:”
1. Arrange for direct deposit for Social Security checks, pension checks or income from other regular sources to the appropriate account.
2. Order a small supply of checks for each checking account. The name of the co-signer, who receives the monthly statements, needs only to appear on the bank statement, leaving the senior’s name(s) on the checks as normal.
3. If the senior is on Medicaid, a personal monthly payment from his/her bank account to the assisted living or extended care facility is likely required, depending on the amount of personal financial resources.
4. Safety deposit box: Store important documents, e.g., original birth certificate, marriage license, Social Security card, military service and discharge documents, POA, will/trust, and health directives in a safe place. Make copies of these documents and file in the Organizer’s notebook. You will keep copies of a few of these documents in a separate Personal Information Notebook kept at the senior adult’s residence.
5. Consider storing the senior’s original documents in a safety deposit box or personal safe, owned by the POA or other family member. If you decide to open (or keep) a safety deposit box in your parent or other senior’s name, check with the bank to arrange for a co-signer to have access for the senior’s lifetime and after their death until all business is completed.
6. Keep your parent or other senior family member involved in the review of his/her financial status (e.g., review bank statements together on a monthly basis.
7. If you are the co-signer on all of the bank accounts, confer with the bank to familiarize yourself with how your status may change upon the senior’s death. If you are the POA, for your parent or other senior, that ends on the day of the death.
8. If the senior dies without a will spelling out who is responsible upon death, working out problems with banks and other financial institutions will be challenging and time-consuming. Not having a will or trust doesn’t in itself create more paperwork or legal hearings. Trust administration however, keeps it out of probate, although there is still paperwork involved.
“Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin