Taking Control of Elderly Parents’ Finances

There comes a point in our lives when we realize that our parents are just not as young as they used to be. Maybe mom starts to repeat things she’s already said before or that golf game that dad used to play on a weekly is something he can no longer physically do.

We all age. It’s simply a part of life. But what do you do when your parents are not able to effectively handle their personal finances on their own?

Freedom Home Care complied a few tips below designed to help guide you through the process of preparing for and managing your older loved ones’ money.

Are You Up for the Task?

First, be honest with yourself about what your role and expectations are. How much time are you willing to put in? Are you the best person for the job or maybe another sibling or family member is more adept at (bookkeeping) keeping on top of not only their bills, but those of your loved one’s as well. What would your reaction be if you found out that your parents decided to will a large portion of their estate to a church or another organization?

Expect a Little Resistance

Have an honest sit-down conversation with your loved ones about their need for help. Keep in mind that some seniors have a hard time dealing with the fact that they can no longer pay their own bills. That loss of independence can be frustrating, upsetting or even scary. Before approaching mom or dad, understand that they may not readily go along the idea of someone else controlling their finances.

Preparation is Key

Starting the conversation early is important as mom or dad may begin to realize over time that assistance in vital areas could actually be beneficial.

Utilize Your Resources

Enlisting a team of professionals to help plan your parents’ future is another great option. An estate planning attorney draws up legal documents, helps with financial planning and reviews tax laws. A life insurance agent’s primary job is to explain the duties of a beneficiary, while a CPA is there to wade through more complex tax issues.

Having a third-party on board might also help to ease some of your loved ones fears and apprehensions. Financial professionals are there to offer common-sense money management solutions and provide overall peace-of-mind for everyone involved.

Have a Back-Up Plan

If your budget doesn’t allow you to employ the services of a financial planner, sit down with other family members and come up with a plan of your own. Start with life insurance and a will or living trust. If appointed as Power of Attorney, you’ll need access to all of mom and dad’s accounts, benefits (including health), debts, assets and any other financial records.

All of this information should be compiled into one list and distributed to participating family members. Update as necessary.