Many families these days include loved ones who may need special care. More often than not, it is a minor child or adult with special needs. But that is not the case for every family. Some individuals could be elderly parents or siblings. In other situations, it could be a family member who has been permanently injured and needs attendant care or skilled nursing care. For others, it could be a child at home or in a facility that provides medical and personal care and education.
The scenarios run the gamut. And as parents or caregivers, there are so many things you instinctively know how to handle because you have been doing them for so long. But make no mistake about it; you know there will come a day when you are no longer around to ensure every “I” is dotted and “T” is crossed. So what happens then?
In my latest book, What Your Spouse Should Know if Something Happens to You, we discuss the importance of having critical family fact sheets on hand for you and other family members to quickly locate assets, important files, key information, and personal data. While these are not considered legal documents, they help prepare spouses and family members for the legal, economical, practical, and emotional consequences when someone passes away and leaves others behind.
A key document that should be included in these family fact sheets is the Special Family Fact Sheet.
Why Is a Family Fact Sheet for Loved Ones With Special Needs Important?
If you or your spouse are the primary caregivers for someone with special needs, or you manage their finances, make key healthcare decisions, etc., a Family Fact Sheet can help keep all important matters related to that person in one place. This also ensures a smooth transition if you or your spouse were to pass away and helps your loved ones feel more secure and less traumatized by changes that must take place.
While not a complete list of what is included in my book, start with these items:
Name or “nickname” the person uses
Date of birth
Social Security Card
Medicare and Medicaid cards
Supplemental insurance policies
Life insurance or burial policies
Pre-need funeral policy
Place of birth (birth certificate)
Fingerprints, identifying birthmarks, scars, etc.
Date of marriage and name of spouse
Driver’s license number or state-issued ID
Voter registration number
Student ID card, if applicable
Medical history, including allergies
List of conditions and treatments
From there, ask and answer these questions:
Does this person have a guardian appointed or not?
Does this person have someone they rely on to make decisions or handle business affairs?
Who is the primary caregiver?
Are there additional caregivers? Are they paid or voluntary, and how many hours a week do they work?
Who manages the caregivers?
Who handles payroll, hires people, trains people, etc.?
You will also want to provide information about this person’s finances, including bank account information, sources of income, and how the money is received. Provide a comprehensive list of a typical week’s menu and shopping list, their weekly schedule, a list of friends they may visit with each week, and any special interests and hobbies.
Again, we have condensed the list above for the purposes of this article. Buying my book is the best place to get the complete list of what can be included in a Family Fact Sheet!
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!!
No one wants to think about the day they will pass away, especially if they are caring for someone with special needs. But it is better to discuss these things together ahead of time and be prepared for when that day comes. Dealing with uncertainty is the last thing you want to worry about.
Having a competent estate planner in your corner will help you and your family navigate these often overwhelming waters. That is our job, and we like to think we do it better than anyone else. Please call Leigh Hilton PLLC so that we can help ensure you and your family are taken care of in the best way possible.