Caring for an aging parent responsibly includes helping your loved one take care of important life matters. It’s easier to do so while that loved one is still living. In a family, often one specific person takes care of all financial responsibilities. Caring for an aging parent responsibly includes helping your loved one take care of important life matters. It’s easier to do so while that loved one is still living. In a family, often one specific person takes care of all financial responsibilities.
In that case, or if a person lives alone, a “Red Book” containing critical personal and financial data can assist the spouse, child or financial advisor in handling important matters after the person’s death. Former Lutheran Foundation of Texas Board Chairman Herb Noack wrote an article titled “Where’s the Red Book?” Herb states this valuable tool should contain:
- Location of bank accounts and safe deposit box, with shared access permission to both
- Any long term charitable commitments, including testamentary gifts or remainder trusts
- Location of signed, witnessed, notarized Will, Power of Attorney, and Medical Powers
- List of retirement, 401 (k), 403 (b), IRAs, annuities, pensions and brokerage accounts
- Favorite Scripture passages, hymns, names of pall bearers and other funeral details
- Name and telephone numbers for Attorney, CPA, Doctor(s) and Insurance Agent(s)
- Updated, detailed list of all assets and liabilities with location and legal name
- Contact info, user names, account numbers, etc., for all accounts
- Location of vehicle titles and deed to home or other real property
- Name of preferred mortuary and location of cemetery and plat
- List of insurance policies (life, auto, long term care, home)
- Birth, confirmation and marriage certificates, if available
- Location of tax returns and tax information
- User name and password for computer
- Copy of driver’s license and passport
- List of credit and debit cards
Once created, it is vital to keep the Red Book updated (at least annually) and in a safe place. Because electronic information may be destroyed if your computer crashes or is infected with a virus, electronic and hard copy backup information should always be created and kept in a safe place. Be sure to tell the individual who will be handling your or your loved one’s personal affairs that a Red Book exists and where it is located.
Larry Ohls, LFOT CEO, says: “It’s the easiest thing in the world to put off doing things like this. But if you wait one second too long, it’s the hardest thing in the world from which to recover.”
For assistance with these matters, go to http://www.LFOT.org and click on “Resources.” Taking these steps now will provide peace of mind for you today and blessing for your loved ones in the future.