Gifts. Consider giving away tangible property now to reduce conflicts at death, or make up a tangible personal property memo for the personal representative to follow. Update the will.
Locate Documents. Locate the original will, the medical directive (living will), medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, prenuptial agreement, safe deposit box keys, location of bank where safe deposit box is, insurance policies, veteran’s discharge papers, and stock certificates.
Funeral. Put in writing funeral wishes, organ donations, obtain death certificate information, and obituary details.
The medical power of attorney should appoint an individual to handle funeral arrangements.
Gifts to Children. Has any money been given in advance to children to be deducted under the will?
Loans to Children. Has any money been loaned to the children that has not yet been paid back, or is there a record of it all being paid back?
Titles of Assets. Evaluate the titles of all assets so that they pass in accordance with the will or by operation of law as wished. If Uniform Gift to Minor’s Act accounts have been established for grandchildren, transfer custodianship before the custodian dies. Evaluate Medicaid status and asset recovery.
Life Insurance. Review all life insurance policies to determine if beneficiaries should be changed, e.g., spouse beneficiary is deceased or divorced.
Special Compensation. Has a family member quit his or her job to take care of the ailing individual, such that reimbursement for expenses is appropriate?
Income Taxes. Use taxable IRA funds of the nursing home resident to pay tax deductible nursing home bills.
Tax Shelters. If the dying individual is married, transfer any worthless assets in the dying individual’s name alone to the spouse to be liquidated later. Hard to value interests like oil and gas interests and tax shelters should similarly be transferred.