By the time your parents hit their seventies, you need to know the business side of their lives. Learn about their situation across three broad areas: personal medical information, financial information, and legal documents, including valid copies of their photo identities. Gather information in these areas:
- Make a list of their assets, including all bank accounts, investments, insurance, superannuation, pension accounts, investment properties, shares, and managed funds.
- Make a list of their income. Do they receive any Centrelink or DVA income benefits? What benefits do they receive and how often do they receive them? What is their Centrelink or DVA reference number? Ask them for copies of their most recent correspondence with Centrelink or DVA.
- Title deeds for their primary residence. Compile a list of property related expenses such as home insurance, strata levies, rates and charges, utilities, and maintenance.
- Tax details including their ATO reference numbers and copies of recent tax assessments.
- Sometimes, people will need to verify your parentâ€™s identities, and you will need to provide photo identification of your parents.
- Get a copy of your parentâ€™s driver licence or a government issued passport.
- If your parents do not have these you may need to obtain a State Photo ID Card for them. Because the card has the same application process and security features as a driver licence, your parents can use it anywhere that accepts a driver licence as photo identification. Check out information about the NSW Photo Card at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/licence/nsw-photo-card.html
- Their last Will and Testament. Identify who the executors are.
- Powers of Attorney
- Guardianship documents
- Advanced Health Care Directives.
Personal medical information
- Collect information about their medical history, including ACAT reports, who their doctors are, existing diagnosis, prognosis, treatment protocol, and medication.
- Get copies of their Medicare cards, private health insurance, and any Commonwealth health cards.
- Make a list of your parentsâ€™ personal care routines, and their likes and dislikes.
- Do your parents have pre-paid funeral, funeral insurance policies, or pre-purchased burial plots?
- Do they have a preference for their bodies to be buried or cremated?
- If they prefer cremation, what would they like to be done with their ashes?
As a final comment, create a safe system for keeping the documentation listed above. Consider a filing system, home safe, or safe custody arrangements. Given the increasing prevalence of electronic data storage, there are also options for digital storage. One such service provider is Your Digital File which provides a personal digital file service for $1.00 per month. You can get more information about them at https://www.yourdigitalfile.com/personal