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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Helping Mom (Or more accurately, Mom helping me)


My mother is my sole surviving parent and her will names me as executor.  She lives in Florida and I live in the Midwest.  For years we've had an ongoing discussion about where she keeps her important papers, what her wishes are in the event she's incapacitated and where she keeps all of her account information.  She's pretty tech-savvy for someone her age, pretty well organized and healthy, but still…  We are both realistic.

I'm no spring chicken myself.  I used to write down Mom's instructions and where she says she keeps her original documents and hoped that when the time came, I could remember where I put my notes.  Then, I'd hope I'd have Mom's instructions to guide me if I had to make a quick decision about her in the midst of a very emotional time.

Recently we found a better way to deal with this situation.  Mom got a SafelyFiled account.  I actually got it for her.  But it's hers and here's what she does with it.  She doesn't like using her scanner, so she takes digital pictures of her documents, like her insurance policies, her will, her healthcare power of attorney and bank account statements and uploads them to her account.  (It's amazing what we can do now with all the new technology.)  She even decided to upload her list of medications and some recent reports on medical tests so if there's a medical emergency, especially when she's away from her home and visiting me, we can quickly give the emergency physicians critical information.

When she's online and in her account, she records the location of the original documents using the "Location" field and writes a note to herself or me, right on the screen where the document is displayed.  The location and notes pop up whenever the document is viewed.  She can even schedule an email reminder for some later date, like a reminder to upload a more recent bank account statement, or to review her will and other documents.  So now, all the critical information is in one, secure location.

Mom made me a co-member on her account, so not only can I see everything she's uploaded along with her notes, but I can also upload the documents that I have access to and write my own notes.  I no longer have to remember where I kept my paper notes about mom's wishes or where her original documents are located.  All that information is in the account where I can see it anytime and Mom (or I) can update it wherever she wants.

I'm lucky.  Mom is still independent and we both want to keep it that way for as long as possible.  But if the time comes and she can't manage her account and upload new documents, as her co-member I'll have the ability to help her or even take over if that is necessary.

Mom and I both feel good about getting these matters taken care of.  And now, I'm doing the same thing with my daughter.   Thank you Mom!
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