Many seniors carefully watch their finances and consult trusted advisors for guidance in timing retirement. However, careful planning doesn’t end with retirement. Seniors should ensure they are just as prepared for post-retirement as they were before leaving the workforce. Below is a checklist for seniors and their families to ensure seniors’ needs and objectives are met both upon retirement and beyond.
Finances. Make a list of all financial accounts, the locations of where the accounts are held, and any contact information for financial advisors. Check with the financial institutions to verify the owner names, permissions, and possible beneficiaries on each account.
Investments. Compile a list of investments like CDs, IRAs, annuities, stocks, real estate properties or other investments. Locate account numbers and documents related to these assets and know the investment’s value. Check to ensure these assets are titled consistently with any legal documents. Verify the beneficiaries, if any, on each account.
Insurance Policies. Keep a list of all insurance policies and know the benefits and conditions for payment under these policies. Ensure that beneficiary information is updated. Ensure a trusted person will receive notices of premium payments so that the policies do not lapse for non-payment if a senior is unable to receive or read these notices.
Legal Documents. At a minimum, seniors should have an up-to-date durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney. For a durable power of attorney, one or more trusted people are appointed to conduct financial transactions for a person. A durable power of attorney that offers “hot” powers ensures there are options to protect assets in the event the need for long-term care arises. A health care power of attorney ensures that only trusted people make health care decisions and follow instructions for end-of-life care needs. Adults should have a Will or Trust in place to ensure their assets pass to intended heirs.
Digital Assets/Access. Compile a list of important online accounts and access to smartphones or computers along with log-on and password information.
Safe Storage. Ensure that all important documents - especially original legal documents - are stored in a safe place. It is imperative that a trusted person has access to these documents in case the senior is unable to access them.
Healthcare. Maintain a list of health providers and current medications. Mobile seniors should keep a copy of health care powers of attorney stored on a thumb drive in their vehicle or under their smartphone’s “emergency” tab in case of a health emergency while traveling.
While this checklist is a starting point for both the young and the old, it is important to organize these matters before an emergency occurs. With these plans in place, seniors and their families can avoid stressful family or financial conflicts.
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