Roadmap for Heirs – Gathering Financial Documentation

drawing of a map

by Sally Pessin, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

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A little over a year ago, my 88-year old father took a very bad fall, and spent two months being shuttled back and forth between the hospital and rehab before he passed away.  Thankfully, my father had spent several years creating and updating a binder with his personal information. It’s a document commonly known as a “Roadmap for Heirs.”  Along with the original Powers of Attorney, the binder became invaluable for me as my father’s care manager, Power of Attorney and ultimately, trustee of his trust. The Roadmap was my lifeline for my father’s care once he became non-communicative due to a stroke he suffered a few weeks after the fall.

From December through January, I camped out at my father’s New Jersey home and woke up one day to discover I was snowed in.  Luckily, the binder included my father’s lawn/snow-plow guy’s phone number.  I was so grateful to have made it to the hospital that day to be by my immobilized father’s side to feed and comfort him as well as to summon the nurses and aides when necessary.

Included in the binder was a list of all my father’s doctors, medications, Social Security number, Medicare and Medigap policy numbers and financial accounts; this allowed me to seamlessly arrange for my father’s financial and healthcare needs.

Having the medication list was particularly useful; due to the chaos of the Covid pandemic, the hospital neglected to update their computer system regularly; my father’s sparse hospital records contained many inaccuracies.  The revolving door of healthcare providers looked to me to provide them with my dad’s correct medical information.

Read this helpful article for creating your own Roadmap. Be patient; it will take time.