ParentClick Santa Barbara

Do you know what your Mom or Dad want in case of tragedy?


Helpful Questions for Dealing With Aging Parents… I recently met a young lady whose parents own a couple businesses and where Dad was in charge of all the finances but had no known plans. The problem? Dad was in and out of lucidity and might not live long enough to both formulate sound financial plans and to put them in writing.

Among the questions that needed answering:

Where were documents?

  • Where were any cash, savings and investments?
  • Were there passwords needed to access them? What were those passwords?
  • Was there a will or trust? Where was it? Was it current?
  • Was there a tax or financial planner who could answer these and other financial questions?


  • Was there in-force life insurance on Dad? How do we collect?
  • Was there long-term care or disability insurance in force?

What about the businesses?

  • What was the plan for the brother who worked in one of those businesses? Was he qualified to run it? How would he gain control? What was the trade-off for the other kids?
  • In case Dad had to bow out of the businesses, who could run them? How well would they run?
  • Should they be sold? How soon? To whom? Was there a good business broker in place?

Durable Powers of Attorney

  • Who was supposed to make financial decisions for Mom & Dad?
  • Who was supposed to make health decisions for them (especially, now, Dad)?

If Dad is dying

  • Under which circumstances, if any, did he want to be taken off life-support if he was put on it?
  • If he died, did he want to be cremated or buried? Did he want to donate his organs? Donate his body to medical students for practice?

The stress of ignorance: The young lady was extremely stressed-out and so will be others whose parents have either failed to plan or who’ve planned but those plans are either way out of date or can’t be found. The consequences of such failure can decimate the assets and be emotionally exhausting as no-one knows the details and sorting it all out can take years. Meanwhile, employees will move on, decisions won’t be made, or will be made far too slowly to preserve assets.

Have the difficult conversation with your parents and document the answers (preferably with non-family witnesses): “What do you want?” “Where are records?” “Who do we talk to?” “How do we find your will or trust?” “Is it current?” “Will Mom/Dad be OK if Dad/ Mom dies?” etc.

For yourself, too! And have this discussion with your spouse and parents about you: if you, as parent, die, who do you want to take care of your kids? If you get hurt and need care and can’t work, what’s supposed to happen? Where will the money and help come from?

Please, talk to an established professional and protect your family – just in case. Life happens. Call me if you need some help.

[AUTHOR: Del Hegland, Agent, CA Ins. Lic # 0D46533] New York Life Insurance Company


August 4, 2014

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