Money is a sensitive topic for the boomers. Managing aging parents’ finance is an essential part of looking after an older adult.
However, it can be pretty tough to convince someone older than you that they need help regarding such important matters, even if all the signs are there. This is why helping aging parents with finances requires a soft and gentle approach.
For instance, if they’re forgetting to pay bills, making unnecessary purchases, or having confusions regarding their accounts, it’s probably time to step in.
But even while having problems, many older people still feel hesitant involving someone in their matters and finances.
5 Easy Tips to Help Aging Parents with Finances
To reduce this calamity and defensiveness, here are 5 easy tips for helping aging parents with finances.
1. Work with them and honor their decisions
When your aging parent or relative is still able to manage their finances fairly well, be respectful of their decisions and work with them instead of forcefully taking matter in your own hands.
They might need some assistance in executing details for example paying the bills every month, but they still want to have the power of making decisions.
Eventually they will began accepting additional help from you but that’s only when they realize you’re just trying to help, not taking away their control.
If your older adult has diseases like dementia or a cognitive impairment, you may have to make decisions on their behalf and take over. But it’s still advised to make the elderly feel involved and in control, even if it’s past them to manage or control situations.
Also don’t forget to discuss this with other family members to bring everyone on the same page and to make them understand that you’re only trying to look out for your parent’s best interests.
2. Locate important documents
It’s crucial to know where the important financial documents are kept so you can locate them in times of emergency for instance if your older parent or relative becomes incapacitated.
This allows you to protect and look after your aged person’s belongings and assets when they’re not around to take care of things themselves.
The person you’re looking after may show doubts and concerns that you might use these documents before you have to, so make sure to reassure them that you will only use their documents and information in case of an emergency, when they themselves are not able to.
Important documents normally include:
- Bank and brokerage statements
- A person’s Will
- Insurance policies
- Pension records and funding
- Home mortgage details
- Car entitlement
- Social Security cards and payment details
- Safety deposit boxes
3. Get access to their financial accounts
Getting access to any person’s bank accounts requires technical planning and obviously, some particular paperwork.
Banks and related financial institutions have quite strict rules about who can access someone’s accounts. And sometimes, they even require a person’s own verification to be available even if you already have the Power of Attorney.
You can apply to become authorized to conduct transactions, write checks or withdraw money from your respective adult’s accounts.
In order to get access to a safe deposit box, the owner of the account can authorize an agent or a deputy.
However, keep in mind that before signing any sort of paperwork or getting joint access to anyone’s accounts no matter how close to you, consulting with a financial planner, senior and experienced law attorney, fiduciary, or other qualified professional is always recommended to avoid unwanted consequences and confusions.
4. Keep others family members informed
Your parents should always stay involved in their financial decisions as long as it is possible for them to.
In cases where its not possible and you need to take full charge or responsibility, it’s wise to discuss and share information with other related family members and involve them in the process for consultation and advice.
This helps avoid future conflicts, for instance one person accusing another of spending the older adult’s money inappropriately behind the rest of the family’s back.
Holding regular family meetings to inform of and share finances is also a good way of keeping everyone up to date on the elderly persons spending and savings.
It’s also advised to keep a record of significant discussions, decisions, and actions in case of disputes in the future.
5. Prepare Legal Documents for the future
In case your older person doesn’t have a will or estate plan already, now is probably the best time to convince them to arrange a meeting with a lawyer and begin the process.
These key legal documents are extremely essential since they affect how the person’s assets will be distributed when they pass away. Undistributed property and assets are one the most common reasons of fights among families.
Last but not least, it’s also of grave importance to complete other legal documents like the Power of Attorney or a living will.
This document gives you authority and allows you to make decisions or take actions quickly during a health crisis on behalf of the person in question.