Tips on Managing Your Aging Parents’ Finances
By Hancock Law Firm, PLLC |
As your parents age, they may have an increasingly hard time keeping up with their finances. They may lose track of their various financial accounts and where they’re located, may forget to pay bills, or may even fall victim to scams preying on the elderly. If you find yourself in the position of managing your parents’ finances, below are some guidelines on doing so.
Consider getting a power of attorney
Perhaps your elderly parents seem to be keeping up with their finances now, but that could change quickly, should they have a bad fall or stroke. When the elderly become unable to make reliable decisions, if you don’t step in, someone else will. Researchers estimate that one in ten people over 60 has been the victim of financial abuse or fraud. Having a power of attorney in place before they’re unable to consent to such an arrangement can let both of you rest easy knowing the money they’ve spent a lifetime earning is protected.
Make sure you keep the power of attorney documents where you can easily access them. Financial institutions will not allow you to access your parents’ accounts without first seeing proof that you have their authority to do so.
Catalog all their accounts and financial instruments
Creating a list of all of the different accounts, lines of credit, and any corresponding documents is crucial to being able to have a full picture of your parents’ finances. Creating such a map is something much more easily done before your parents become ill. Plan ahead to ensure that all their financial documents are organized in a manner you can all understand before something happens.
Begin to pay their bills, and consider having them sent to you
After lifetimes of caring for themselves—even raising children—your parents will likely not be eager to hand off such a basic responsibility as bill paying. It may help to gradually take over some of the more complex financial management, such as reviewing their investment allocations, while increasingly taking over additional bills. Eventually, you may want to ask your parents’ financial institutions to send copies of statements to you each month, so that you can handle them directly.
Having a will and an estate plan in place, put together while your parents are healthy and still sharp, can eliminate a great deal of stress and familial infighting. Make sure your parents have a will in place that best expresses their desires and can be trusted to stand up to challenge in court. From in and around Ridgeland, Mississippi, including Jackson, Clinton, and Madison, contact the skilled estate planning attorneys at Hancock Law for a consultation on your legal needs, at (601) 853-2223.