As important as it is to talk about finances with your elderly parents, it’s not an easy task. In fact, most adult children avoid the financial talk until they absolutely have to. That’s because many elderly may resent or are just not comfortable talking with their adult kids about their finances. That said, there’s no time like the present to have this important conversation, especially if a parent’s health is an issue.
Tackling the topic early will benefit everyone concerned. It will clarify your parents’ wishes so that you can create a joint plan to fulfill their wishes. Once it’s in writing, if there is an emergency, everything will be in order to ensure things run smoothly. Below are some suggestions to cover when it’s time to have this conversation.
Get the names of all your parents advisors. This would include: attorneys, family physicians or specialists, bankers, brokers, etc. This will make it much easier for collecting important documents.
If your parents have an attorney, ask for permission to speak to the attorney to review the documents any legal documents and update if necessary. Other questions to ask your parents:
Have they executed a trust?
Do they have a durable financial power of attorney?
Do they have an advanced health care directive?
Do your parents have a will and an estate plan in place?
If your parents don't have an attorney, help them find one for the most efficient and legal way of getting this task done.
Inquire about medical insurance policies and where they are located. Do they have long term care insurance? It’s also important that you know the name of their personal physician as well as any significant medical issues that may exist.
Find out the sources and amounts of income , as well as monthly expenses for your parents. Find out to who they pay and how much they owe for subscriptions or other monthly obligations such as utilities and mortgage.
They may have pensions, IRAs, or other retirement accounts. Are there bank accounts, etc., that will need to be closed? Ask where they keep personal account information? Ask for permission to access these accounts or be added as a beneficiary on these accounts in case you need access to the accounts to pay bills, stop automatic payments, etc. Their attorney may have this information, ask for permission to set an appointment for everyone concerned to speak to their attorney.
Ask where personal documents are located such as: a will, tax returns, bank and brokerage statements, and similar documents. Inquire about the names of their tax preparers, financial advisors, and stockbrokers, etc. * Include passwords and account numbers so you can access these accounts.
Social media accounts .
Don’t forget about digital records and accounts your parents may have on social media or banking accounts that may have an automatic payment withdrawal for certain expenses each month. If it becomes necessary, you may need written permission to close or deactivate these accounts. Don't forget to get the passwords and user names for these accounts.
At Summit CPA, we offer multiple resources assist with estate and financial needs. For more information on how we can be of assistance, contact our office at 866-497-9761 to schedule an appointment.