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Under any circumstances, it’s a good idea to have the necessary information at hand regarding family medical conditions, bank accounts and investments, and legal documents.  During the coronavirus crisis, it’s more than a good idea, it’s a necessity.   Lamson & Cutner has developed a checklist, in three parts, that we think will be useful for everyone and every family.

What follows is a description of the items that you will find in the checklist. Download Checklist

PART ONE – Family Medical Information

  • What are your pre-existing medical conditions?
  • What medications do you take on a regular basis?
  • What are the renewal dates for each prescription?
  • Contact information for your pharmacy
  • Contact information for each of your doctors
  • Medical insurance policy account number (primary, secondary, drug plan)
  • Insurance cards
  • Contact information for insurance company / insurance agent

PART TWO – Money Accounts and Investments


  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number

Bank accounts

  • Name and address of bank
  • Contact information for bank officer
  • Account number
  • Title of account
  • Contact information for Agent under Power of Attorney, if any
  • Designated beneficiary, if any

Investment or retirement accounts

  • Name and address of financial institution
  • Contact information for financial advisor
  • Account number
  • Title of account
  • Contact information for Agent under Power of Attorney, if any
  • Designated beneficiary, if any

Life insurance policies

  • Name and address of insurance company
  • Contact information for insurance agent
  • Policy number
  • Owner of the policy
  • Person whose life is insured
  • Beneficiary of the policy
  • Cash value, if any, of the policy (whole life and universal life policies usually have a cash value that can be withdrawn by the owner)


1.  Advance Directives

Power of Attorney

  • Up to date contact information for the Agent and Successor Agent
  • Where is the original document?  (It will be needed; copies are generally not accepted)
  • Is the document valid?
  • Is the scope of authority granted to the Agent sufficient?  (This is often the key question.  Many “standard forms” do not provide adequate authority to the Agent to perform the acts that may be in your best interest.)

Health Care Proxy

  • Have you discussed your wishes with your Health Care Agent?  (The agent’s job is to express your wishes if you are unable to do so yourself because of physical or mental incapacity.)
  • Where is the original document?
  • Is the document valid?
  • Is there a HIPAA waiver, so that the Health Care Agent can have access to medical information if needed?

Living Will

  • Have you read your Living Will, and do you know what it means?  (Living Wills typically contain wishes and instructions that seem good in concept, but may be difficult to apply in practice.)
  • If your stated wishes or instructions require interpretation, is there a likelihood of disagreement or dispute among family members regarding your intentions?

2.  Long-Term Care

  • Do you have long-term care insurance?  (Home care, adult day care, assisted living, or nursing home care are not covered by medical insurance)
  • If not, do you have a plan to pay for long-term care, if needed?  (Long-term care is ruinously expensive.  You will likely need a lot of money if you intend to private pay with your own funds.)
  • Are you aware of the Medicaid program in New York State, and how you can qualify for benefits?  (Don’t listen to people who are not knowledgeable about the program – you can qualify.)

Estate Plan

Last Will and Testament

  • Do you have a Will?
  • Have you made provisions for your spouse or your children?
  • Are any of your children minors?
  • If your adult children were to inherit, are they old enough and mature enough to handle the bequests that they would receive?
  • Are any family members disabled or receiving government benefits? (A testamentary supplemental needs trust may be advisable.)


  • Do you have a trust?
  • Is it funded?  (Surprisingly, many people have trusts that were never funded.  If that is the case, the trust is totally useless.)
  • Are you aware of the benefits of a trust?  (Trusts can afford many important benefits, e.g., asset protection, facilitation of eligibility for benefit programs such as Medicaid, avoidance of probate, avoidance of capital gains tax on appreciated assets received upon the death of the creator of the trust, protections for beneficiaries who are disabled, among other benefits.)

Designated beneficiaries and jointly owned property

  • If you have designated beneficiaries for your bank or investment accounts, have you considered how these designations will impact your overall estate plan?
  • If you own real property with another person, do you know how the title is held and how it will impact your overall estate plan? (Do you know the differences between:  joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety?)

If you would like to have a consultation with an attorney at Lamson & Cutner, P.C., please call us at 212-447-8690 or email us at

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