There’s an old joke that goes something like, “If I had known parents were going to be such trouble, I’d never have gotten any in the first place.”
It’s unfortunate that, in many cases, as our parents age, they face more challenges when it comes to managing their finances. Physical illness, declining mental acuity, and other issues can contribute to financial woes later in life. However, it is fortunate that many parents have children who can help them through these trying times.
While this role reversal may be hard for some individuals, it’s nonetheless necessary. Here is what you need to know to get a start in helping manage an aging parent’s finances.
You may have noticed aging parents moving slower or perhaps not exhibiting the same sharpness they may have a year ago. When you first begin to see this, you have to have a hard, honest conversation with yourself about what you’re witnessing and ask yourself some questions.
The hardest part of all this is having that first conversation with an aging parent. Begin by being compassionate and patient. Try not to sound accusatory or condescending. Your parent may be getting on in years, but dignity is important no matter your age.
But if the signs are clear that they’re having difficulty managing money or are making some questionable financial decisions, you need to open up a dialogue. Outline that you’re concerned they have enough resources to get along for years and years to come. Point out that people their age are often victims of fraud and identity theft and that criminals have grown more sophisticated and clever. It’s often challenging to realize they’re becoming victims of a crime until it’s too late.
After being confronted with the idea that they made need you to take greater control over their finances, an elderly parent may feel defensive or upset at first. If you’re having trouble getting them to talk with you, see if you can find a close family friend to help.
Some other ways you can approach the conversation can include:
Focus on security and how you want them to feel secure as they get older and not have to worry about what the next day might bring. If they allow it, they can rely on you to help.
While you don’t have to draw up legal documents to help your parents, it’s often a good idea. This gives you legal authority when it comes to helping your parents manage things as they get older. Tools to consider can include:
Speak with a qualified attorney to get more information on these and other legal documents that may help your family.
To get started in helping manage your parents’ finances, go through these steps:
Dealing with aging parents can be difficult all on your own. However, an attorney with experience in estate planning can make things a lot easier for everyone involved.
The expert teams at Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC are standing by, ready to answer your questions and guide you through the process of drawing up the legal documents that will help you care for your aging parents. Call now! 419.662.3100