When your parents reach an age where they need your assistance with their finances and care, taking on the responsibility of a lifetime of money, investments, and legal documents can be overwhelming. Having helped many people sort out parental finances, I understand just how challenging it can be.

The first step is creating a solid plan so you can avoid surprises during their retirement years. My hope is this blog post and checklist (which breaks everything down into bite-size pieces) can make the process easier and more clear for everyone involved.


While it’s likely you’ll need the support of an experienced attorney at some point in the process, this handy financial checklist from ElderCounsel is a great place to start. By using it as a guide, you should be able to keep things in order and ensure nothing is forgotten. It will also help you have all the information your lawyer needs ready when it comes time to draw up more formal documents.


  • Make a list of all accounts and where they are held
  • Consolidate accounts where possible
  • Ensure that the proper names and permissions are on each account
  • Streamline bill paying by setting up automatic payments where possible
  • Obtain contact information for any financial advisors (It can also be helpful to arrange a meeting with their financial advisor to review investments, asset allocation, and to make sure there are adequate resources to support your parent or loved one’s lifestyle)
  • Review Social Security benefits
  • Update beneficiary designations


  • What investments do they have?
    • CDs
    • IRAs
    • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds
    • Annuities
    • Real estate
    • Other
  • Where are these investments?
  • Where is the original documentation for all investments?
  • What are the amounts of each investment?


  • Make a list of all insurance policies and locate copies of each
    • Life Insurance Policies
    • Health Insurance Policies
    • Long-term care policies
    • Other policies, such as umbrella, auto, homeowners, etc
  • Schedule a meeting with your parent or loved one’s insurance advisor to review policies or to set up a long-term care insurance policy if there isn’t one already
  • Review and update any auto, homeowners or umbrella liability policies
  • Review and update health insurance coverage and Medicaid planning strategies (ie: determine if a Medigap policy will be needed to pay for costs not covered by Medicare)


  • Is there a will or estate plan in place and does it need updating to reflect current wishes regarding executors, beneficiaries, etc.?
  • Is there a durable and up-to-date power of attorney for finance in place?
  • Is there a durable and up-to-date medical power of attorney in place that includes an advance directive outlining wishes for life-prolonging care?


  • What is the current living/housing situation and is it working?
  • What are the plans for illness, disability or death of a spouse/partner?
  • Is there money available to pay for those contingencies (ie: savings or long-term care insurance)?
  • Do you have caregiver agreement documents in place?


  • Make a list of all doctors and medications currently prescribed
  • Make a list of wishes for various medical scenarios
  • Make sure health insurance and supplemental policies support those wishes (ie: does the nearby hospital accept the current insurance, etc.)
  • Make a copy of healthcare cards (these are important when applying for benefits and going to the doctor)


Managing an estate can be challenging even when you have all of your ducks in a row. Asheville estate planning attorney Chris Craig and his associates have many years of experience helping families protect their legacy through smart, efficient planning. By cultivating lifelong relationships with our clients, we are able to create dynamic plans that grow with you, premeditate and respond to any problems, and help ensure you can focus on enjoying the time you have with your family.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule your consultation.