Contributed by William Hicks
- Ensure that you, as caregiver, have individual or joint signature authority over all bank and financial accounts. It is a tragic situation when the PD sufferer is the only one who can sign the check and for irrational reasons, will not sign it. Many situations can quickly deteriorate when expenditures are necessary yet cannot be made. Do not delay to resolve signature authority as soon as it becomes clear that you will be the caregiver and that cognitive deterioration is a possibility.
- Consider the roles of trustee. If there are trusts involved in the financial picture, at some point the care receiver will be unable to function as a trustee. As that time approaches and if the trust has such a provision, the care receiver should resign as a trustee so that an alternate trustee can be available to act if something happens to the caregiver who is co-trustee.
- Gain an understanding of the family financial picture. Develop an understanding of electronic banking and bill payment. Obtain all passwords to gain access to account information. Understand your investments and become involved with the investment advisor or broker. The caregiver will ultimately be responsible for the portfolio and must know and trust the individuals who manage the investment portfolio. Understand retirement plan arrangements, including identifying who is the beneficiary and determining whether that beneficiary is competent to make required decisions. Understand your insurance plans, including identifying the insurance agent, policies that are active, and what are the conditions of those policies.