Even if you aren’t a caregiver for your elderly parents there may come a time when financial issues have to be discussed with them. Sometimes seniors aren’t able to handle their money as well when they age. Often this is due to declining health, dementia or other conditions. Many seniors consider their finances a private issue and bringing up the topic of money may be difficult. Ask if they need any help, especially if you see signs of money problems. Mention that you’d like to discuss financial planning for seniors and the topic may be a little easier for them to handle.
Due to a decline in brain health, such as dementia, seniors may forget to pay their bills. Ask about utility costs and other bills that you know they would pay monthly. A senior who isn’t paying their bills regularly will be vague about amounts owing. Offer to help them set up a budget. This way you can gradually ensure that all of their bills are getting paid.
Income and Expenses
Most of us aren’t aware of the complete picture of our parent’s finances. If you are helping them set up a budget, ask about total income. Do they have savings and investments? If so, ask to see the information. Go over their bills with them and find out what is outgoing each month and what is left for food and other expenses. Discuss their debts and assets.
Work with your parents to find all of their financial records and legal documents. Find out about bank accounts and ask about their beneficiaries and financial wishes. Check that their will is up to date and that they have a power of attorney in place. This should also cover their healthcare wishes. Ask who completes their tax forms for them and get copies of their tax returns.
The more information you have regarding your parent’s finances and final wishes, the easier it will be when one or both pass away. Difficult as these discussions are, having a complete picture of your parent’s final wishes and financial situation will help ease a lot of stress. For more information on financial factors and parents, click here.