Making Your Money Last

Your Parents' Income and Assets

Know how much money they have, locate their important documents and make sure they have the right insurance coverage.

Find out as much as you can about their sources of income, their assets and their debts. Do they have enough income to do what they want to do? Are they making the most of their assets, or might they benefit from a visit to a financial planner who could suggest ways to deploy their resources to better advantage?

Locate your parents' important documents. Find out where they keep their wills, insurance policies, pension and Social Security records, and tax returns. Make sure each knows where to find these records in an emergency. Ask for copies to keep yourself. Suggest that they review their wills with a lawyer if they haven't done so within the past five years or if they have moved from one state to another since the document was drawn up. For more information, see What You Should Know About Your Parents' Finances.

Kiplinger's Your Family Records Organizer, available as a PDF download or in print, offers an easy-to-use series of forms on which you or your parents can record where all important documents are kept and how to reach key advisers.

Insurance coverage for aging parents. Your parents should be covered by a Medigap policy, which picks up the deductible and payments not reimbursed by Medicare.

Long-term-care insurance should also be considered because Medicare generally won't pay nursing-home bills or the cost of in-home nursing care. See The Ins and Outs of Long-Term-Care Insurance.

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