Brandon Cabaniss, CFP®

Last week, I provided some resources and a checklist for caregivers based on the stage of care. I have condensed the list here for conversational purposes.

A caregiving story in more detail…Recently, I met with the daughter of a sick and aging client. She has been caring for her father for years at different stages and in many ways. She is now his power of attorney, has hired support for in-home nursing care, a housekeeper, and someone to help with meal prep. She pays his bills and takes him to doctor’ appointments. She maintains records well. (see below for tips) But most recently, his health has declined fast. Now, she is distraught with the “big decision-making” stage of care. Her father can no longer live on his own, it isn’t safe. His doctors and the in-home nurses agree. She cannot move in and be the one to care for him. She must continue to work out of the home to support herself and has her own health concerns to manage.

Her worry is two-fold – – How do I move my already fragile father? Emotionally and physically the task is daunting. He is resistant to being anywhere but home. During this tumultuous time in the markets and current economic conditions, how do I know he can afford the care I select? Won’t he outlive his assets paying for the high costs of facility care? We don’t know how long he will need the care and how costs could increase.

We talked through all the options for local facility care and the costs involved. We discussed sources of income -social security, retirement portfolio, and potential proceeds from the sale of his home. She was able to see the portfolio was rather conservative and he had a good bit of cash and short-term instruments we could access easily. We estimated the new costs in the facility and compared that to his current expenses owning a home. We looked at how much Medicare might cover. With our planning software, I was able to run estimates on how long the assets could last for her father based on these factors as well as others. She discovered the financial projections were better than she thought they would be. We laid out a plan for the next year during the transition. She started to breathe a little easier.

What bravery and courage it took for her to take this next step! We all make hard decisions based on what we know at the moment. But, have we gathered all the right information from the best sources? Ultimately, she wanted to protect her father and take care of herself in the process. She needed a third party to talk it through and permission to move forward in a direction. Our discussion about finances was an essential step in her decision-making process. We are honored to be part of their caregiving team. We want our clients to be bold in their decision making and love the sometimes-difficult life we live.

Documentation Tips:

  1. Create file sharing – Dropbox or Google Drive are both encrypted and real time. Files can be organized, shared and updated by all parties involved. Or, if you have a vault in a financial planning site (we use Emoney for our clients) you may also keep and share records in this location securely.


Items to save:

  • Passwords – you can also save passwords on special password apps
  • List of medications
  • List of professional contacts
  • List of doctors and medical contacts
  • Legal documents like POA, last will & testament, living will
  • Insurance policies (car, home, health, etc. as applicable)
  • Tax returns – last 3 years
  • Account list with numbers, location, advisors/bankers and approx. value (update quarterly)
  • Bills list with account numbers, contact information, website, how bill is paid and frequency

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