The importance of family comes to the forefront when you are an adult and looking after aging parents. Whether it be a parent not living at home and needing help in the household, or the parents living at home and needing assistance with finances, elderly adult financial planning is an integral part of managing the estate.
Ok, we’re all getting older. But what do you do when your parents become elderly? While you may be excited about seeing the old folks around your age, it’s not all fun and games. The real problem is that your parents are living longer, with longer periods of frailty, and may not be able to take care of themselves. Sometimes it’s the little things. For example, your mom may want to go to the store, but you don’t want her to go alone. Do you: 1) Tell her she can’t go alone because you’ll worry about her? 2) Take her along and let her fend for herself? 3) Or let her go alone, but take your cellphone and stand
I have to make sure my parents’ finances in good shape when they need me to help them out. I have to make sure they do not have any financial problems when I am not around. I have to make sure that they are financially secure when I am not around.
The phone goes off. When I pick up the phone, my father says calmly, “I need you to take me to the emergency hospital.” “I have some anomalies in my bloodwork, and my doctor wants me to go to the hospital.”
It’s 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning. I rush out the door, searching for my shoes and giving directions to the workers who are renovating our new house. We get the bad news two days later. My father is suffering from cancer.
My whole family is terrified, but my mother is much more concerned than the rest of us. It turns out that, in addition to being concerned about my father’s health, she is also concerned about not being able to pay her expenses.
How to Discuss Money with Your Parents
With everything going on, money should be the last thing on my parents’ minds. Thankfully, I began discussing money with my parents many years ago. Every month, I know how much they owe, earn, and spend. I also know how to assist them in obtaining funds to pay their debts.
If you’ve never discussed money with your parents, now is the time. Why? Because it’s possible that if you wait, it’ll be too late. What if your parents were unable to communicate because of an unforeseen injury or accident? What if they develop dementia and are unable to communicate their financial information?
Start a discussion now, rather than waiting for a medical emergency. In the midst of a health crisis, you don’t want to deal with money issues. You should concentrate on doctor’s visits, medical treatments, and pain relief.
If you don’t know where to begin, remind your parents that your aim isn’t to handle their money, but to have a plan in place in case the need arises.
How do you start talking about money with your parents? Begin by requesting that your parents keep track of their financial information. Tell them they are not obligated to provide you this information immediately away. For the time being, they may scribble it down and inform you of its location.
What should your parents gather and keep track of?
Financial Checklist for Aging Parents
To begin, have them collect the following papers and keep them in a safe location where you will be able to retrieve them when needed.
Information about yourself:
- cards of social security
- Certificates of Birth
- Certificates of marriage
Specifications of the property
- plots in cemeteries
- titles of automobiles
- insurance coverage for the house
- policy on automobiles
- a broad policy
- policy of life insurance
- insurance for long-term care
- Location of the safe deposit box
- Name and phone number of CPA
- Name and phone number of your financial adviser
- pension information
Ask your parents to collect the following statements if they don’t use internet banking:
- a a bank account
- checking account
- Accounts for investment
- accounts for retirement
- unsecured loans
- loans for automobiles
- home equity loans
Using a Credit Card
- cards for business
- cards for personal use
After that, collect the following bills:
- bills for gas
- bills for electricity
- Bills for cable
- TV bills
- bills for water
Next, have your parents write down their credit card information on a piece of paper. Include the bank’s name as well as any account numbers.
If they bank online, ask them to write down the websites they use, as well as their usernames, passwords, and other security questions and answers.
If your parents have a safe deposit box, make sure they add you as a deputy or agent, but keep in mind that if they pass away, you will lose this right.
The only option to keep access is to join the box as a joint owner. To do so, you’ll need to go to the bank and sign a card with your parents in person.
Finally, have your parents record any income they receive as well as the bank accounts into which it is deposited.
How to Financially Assist Aging Parents
With your parents, discuss the significance of streamlining the bill-paying procedure. It’s not your aim to take away their power. It’s to make things easier for them so they don’t skip any payments or incur late penalties.
Encourage your parents to enroll in automatic payments right away if they haven’t already. You may smoothly transfer money management from parents to adult children by using online banking and bill payments.
Show your parents how online billing works if they aren’t computer savvy or are just scared of it. While your parents are sitting next to you, log into their accounts. Show them how to use their credit card information to set up auto-pay for their bills.
Ascertain that they realize that these invoices are no longer due when they come in the mail. To prevent any misunderstanding, it may be beneficial to cease using paper statements. Because many older people like looking at paper bills, don’t make the switch to paperless reporting without their consent.
Request that your parents put aside invoices for you to examine when they arrive. Insurance plans usually renew once a year, unlike energy bills, which come every month. You won’t miss important deadlines or due dates for forgotten bills if you go through your mail.
Make sure you notify everyone about any financial or billing changes you make. Create a master account list that includes the biller’s name, auto-payment status, and whether or not invoices will be sent electronically.
When Should You Intervene in an Elderly Parent’s Financial Matters?
My mother, father, and brother decided that I should assist my parents with their money after receiving my father’s prognosis. My mother is pleased that I’m keeping an eye on their finances and making sure their expenses are paid. To be honest, my father seems to be relieved that banking duties are no longer on his to-do list.
Regrettably, not many elderly parents are willing to give up their checkbook or financial information. If your parents are still reluctant, bring the subject up lightly and ask if there are any little ways you might assist.
Can you, for example, assist them with filing their taxes or ensuring that their property taxes are paid twice a year? Can you assist them in paying their utility bills or serve as a second pair of eyes on their accounts to prevent fraud?
If you can, keep an eye on their mail while you wait for them to let you help. It may be time to have a little more forceful heart-to-heart chat if you see late payments or find them repeating the same tales again and over.
Siblings Fight Over Their Aging Parents
When caring for aging parents, sibling rivalry may flare up. If you have siblings, keep them informed about the adjustments you are making since a lifetime of financial favoritism may create all kinds of animosity.
It will be obvious that you are not concealing anything from anybody if you record everything. Keep track of these papers and feel free to share them with your siblings even if they don’t ask.
If you pay any of your parents’ bills, be sure to keep track of the information. Present this information as soon as possible or agree to evaluate it on a regular basis.
Siblings may, unfortunately, take advantage of their aging parents. If you aren’t in charge of your parents’ finances, request to view their bank statements to verify that their finances are in order and that their payments are paid on time.
Taking Care of Your Parents’ Money
Following my father’s illness, I began making preparations to handle my parents’ finances. I collected a canceled check, a credit card, and the most current invoices with their consent.
Then I went into each of my father’s accounts and set up bill pay for each of them. To finish this stage, I asked my father whether I could use his email account.
I could reset passwords that he’d forgotten using his email address. I changed all of the passwords and compiled them into a massive spreadsheet with additional information.
Then, for each account, I created a row with the following information:
- Name of the Organization
- Number of Accounts
- Automated Payment (Y or N)
- Type of AutoPay (Credit Card or Check)
- Paperless Invoices (Y or N)
I handed my father the list so he could check his finances. In the end, I’d want to establish a distinct email that can forward to both his and my addresses, but for now, this would suffice.
I set up 90% of my parents’ accounts in less than a day. A few insurance bills require me to send paper auto-pay papers to them as an exemption.
Taking Legal Control of Your Elderly Parents’ Money
Technically, with your parents’ consent, you may make changes to their accounts, but legally, your parents must create a financial power of attorney.
Request that your parents complete this form long before they get sick. If you wait, your parents will be unable to sign a power of attorney if they acquire dementia or another disease that impairs their decision-making capacity.
You’ll have to go through a lengthy process of asking the courts for formal guardianship or conservatorship if this occurs.
The procedure of petitioning the courts is time-consuming and costly. By talking to your parents about money today, you can avoid needless obstacles.
Your parents should also appoint a medical power of attorney to assist them in making medical choices. If they don’t already have one, it may be time to create one.
Assisting Aging Parents
If you’re taking over your parents’ payments, now is a good opportunity to go through their spending habits. Are they being billed for services they don’t use anymore? Is it possible for them to get discounts that would help them save money on their bills?
Walk them through their credit card statements line by line if they have the time and desire. Some services may be canceled, while others may be upgraded. If they are now confined to their house, increasing their television package or subscribing for premium sports channels may be a good idea.
You may also freeze your parents’ credit records if you are worried about fraudulent behavior. You can simply unfreeze them if the need arises.
Taking Care of Parents Who Are Getting Older
After taking care of my parents’ money, I moved on to more important concerns, such as my father’s medical visits and other health-related issues.
I collected my father’s medical documents, logged into his hospital’s medical site, and downloaded every report I could find. A folder on my desktop begins to fill up with blood work, test results, medicines, and doctor’s notes.
I got authorization to pick up my father’s CT scan pictures by calling radiology. Then I put up a high-level paper with his biopsy findings, CT scan data, and other critical information to provide to the new physicians he’ll be seeing.
Taking care of my elderly parents’ finances is the easiest part. I’m glad that my parents have put their faith in me to assist them at this difficult time. I’m more at ease knowing that I can safeguard their financial holdings and guarantee that their obligations are paid.
Now, if only I could discover a simple method to heal my father…
As a child, I spent a lot of time with my elderly parents. The majority of their time was spent in the house, so I was around them most of the day. My mother never learned to drive, and she would rely on me to drive her around. One day, I notice she had put the car in park and was somehow able to lock the doors without me knowing. I had to call her from my sisters number and she was unaware that she had locked the car. I pulled her out of the car and I realized it was too late. She had died of a heart attack.. Read more about transferring money from elderly parents and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I control my elderly parents finances?
The best way to control your parents finances is by setting up a trust. This will allow you to manage the money and assets of your parents without them being able to access it.
How do I manage my parents finances?
You can manage your parents finances through the online banking system that is available to them.
Who is financially responsible for elderly parents?
The person who is financially responsible for their parents is the one that can make decisions on behalf of them.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- how to protect elderly parents money
- taking control of elderly parents’ finances uk
- protecting elderly parents finances uk
- how to legally take over parents’ finances
- transferring money from elderly parents