Last month, I wrote about having “The Conversation” with your parents to help you gain a better understanding of their wishes should they become seriously ill. One of my suggestions was to learn more about your parents important financial and legal documents. Would you know where to look if you were asked to find your parent’s driver’s license, Medicare Card, medical insurance card, or social security number?


As an advocate, I assist families with the completion of personal care home and nursing home applications. Typical questions on these applications require information regarding the client’s Medicare number, insurance number, social security number, and financial information—including personal banking and investment documents.


If there is an urgent need to have a loved one move to a skilled nursing facility, finding these documents is critical to successfully transferring a client to a facility of their choice. These documents are also vital if you need to sit down with an elder law attorney on your family member’s behalf to prepare a trust, work on asset protection, or complete other estate planning documents.


Lastly, after the passing of a loved one, you will need copies of the will, title of the car, deed to the house, and many other important papers to settle the estate.


One resource I have found to be very helpful for organizing and finding your important documents is the Family Caregiver Alliance. Check out the following website, and download a PDF version of “Where to Find My Important Papers.”


Take the time during this holiday season to have “The Conversation” with your parents and have them help you be better able to help them in the future.