What Information Should a Family Caregiver Keep Track Of?

THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION is not the same for every family, but it is important to keep track of important financial, legal and health information. And it is important to regularly update this information.

Here is a list of 20 things you might want to include:

  1. Full legal name and residence.
  2. Birth certificate or birth date and place.
  3. Social Security number.
  4. Medicare number.
  5. Name and ID number of any Medicare supplements.
  6. Any sources of income in addition to Social Security (Stocks, bonds, property, etc.)
  7. Insurance policies.
  8. Bank account information and records.
  9. Deeds, investments, safe deposit box key and informaiton.
  10. List of tangible assets and any documentation such as purchase records. These assets might include cars, boats, jewelry, artwork, collectables, etc.
  11. Photographs of the above assets.
  12. Most recent income tax return.
  13. Money owed, to whom, and when payments are due.
  14. Credit card account names and numbers.
  15. Will, beneficiary information.
  16. Durable power of attorney.
  17. Living will and/or durable power of attorney for health care.
  18. Where cash or other valuables might be kept in the home.
  19. Log-in information for online accounts including social media accounts, if any.
  20. Contact information of friends and family.

Your parents or family member may be reluctant to share personal information with you. Explain that you are not trying to invade their privacy or take over their personal lives—you are only trying to assemble what will be needed in the event of an emergency. Assure them that you will respect their privacy, and then keep your promise. If your parents are still uncomfortable, ask if they would be willing to work with an attorney (some lawyers specialize in elder affairs) or perhaps with another trusted family member or one of their close friends.

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