Are you prepared?

Recently I worked on a Medicaid application for a man who is in a nursing home, and is not able to assist in completing it. His wife is faced with enormous nursing home bills for him that threaten her future financial well-being.

The burden of gathering the necessary financial information to complete the application has fallen to her, with assistance from me and others. Her husband has always taken care of finances, and has been very secretive. He has never shared passwords with her, or their children, and thus his online accounts are difficult to access.

Why am I telling you this? Medicaid requires 5 years of complete records for all bank accounts, investment accounts and pension accounts. Without the easy access that his computer would have provided, and armed with a power of attorney that he was reluctant to sign, but finally did, we were able to get those records the hard way.

Make it a part of your routine to print out and store in binders or files the monthly statements that financial institutions provide. Store, and keep up to date, passwords and log in information for those accounts, and make it available to those you trust.

When, and if, the need arises for a Medicaid application, or in the event of your incapacity or death, you will have made it easier for your loved ones to carry on without you.