Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tip No. Three: Know What You've Got

Do you know what life insurance policies your parents have? Do you know where the account information for each of them is? Do you know if they have supplemental insurance and, if so, through whom? Do you know about the will? If they rent, do you know what you would need to do to terminate the lease? What about their wishes for burial? If one or the other is a veteran, do they receive benefits and do you know whom to contact about that? What about their assets? Do you know what they own and owe? Do you know about that stuff? Me neither.

If Mother had died that day last September, I would have been in a fine pickle trying to figure it all out, and I really hate pickles. As it is, I kept an eye out for anything that looked like it pertained to any of the above mentioned items when my daughter and I packed up her stuff, but I can't say that I've found it all. I still find out about things when I get mail for her from this, that or the other. Six months later, I'm still trying to get the address changed on a lot of it. And, as I've mentioned before, Mother is the quintessential pack rat. A product of the depression, she couldn't bear to throw anything away. So, you know what you're looking for exists, you just don't know in what pile it's likely buried. Trust me, that's as bad if not worse than not keeping records at all. At least with no records you don't spend hours upon hours looking for something. I know Mother may be the Queen of all OCD hoarders, but I also know it's not that completely unusual for someone who came through that time either. So, I know there are more of you out there that are facing parents or grandparents much like Mother. So, my advice to you is to get a handle on what's in place and figure out if it's enough to cover what you'll need before you need it. How do you do that? That my children, is the topic for tomorrow.

But, I would like to close with a little note about the Penguins. I'm a band waggoner, there is no denying. I am using the Stanley Cup Finals to fill the long, yawning void that is the NFL off season, but, dang, that's some good, exciting hockey. Way to go guys - bring home another championship for Pittsburgh on Friday, that town deserves it.

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