Talking finances with your parents can be a hard subject to bring up. Many seniors feel like they are giving up their independence by having their children take on their finances and are hesitant to let it happen. But having someone else manage their accounts actually ends up being the most beneficial for everyone involved. Unfortunately, seniors are one of the highest financial fraud targets. This is because they tend to be the most responsive to scammers, making themselves an easy target. So to prevent this, have a family member or professional handle their finances.
Sometimes you’ll even see signs that your parents are losing track of their finances and bills. Look for any of these indicators:
- Mail piling up
- They have a tough time paying bills or managing checkbooks
- Spending sprees
- Multiple calls from creditors
It’s also important to take their age and health into consideration when deciding that it’s time to take over their accounts. Any of these signs, in addition to the risk of scammers, gives plenty of reason to take over your parents finances.
Money talk is a tricky subject but definitely needs to be done. Putting off this conversation will do more harm than good so the sooner you talk about it the better. To start this conversation with your parents, choose a setting that will be the most relaxed and comfortable for them. You may also want to involve other family members or a third party, but try not to make it overwhelming. To guide you through this conversation and new responsibility, keep these suggestions in mind:
Make a Plan
It’s always important to make a plan. This will keep everyone on track and aware of what is going on. Everyone’s plan will have different aspects depending on what is important to your family. The important pieces to include are monthly budgets and bills. Discuss an appropriate budget with your parents. Something that will fit their lifestyle and pay their bills, but not drain their account. Also plan out what bills are due, when they’re due, and how much they are.
It may be helpful to write all this down on a calendar for you and your parents and then put it somewhere you will both see every day. This allows your parents to still be involved and aware of what is going on with their money.
Keep a Record
Some may think that a record is not necessary, but you won’t want to be second guessing yourself down the line. It can also be confusing juggling your parent’s finances on top of your own. To prevent any mishaps, keep a record. When keeping track of when bills were paid it may be helpful to record this on the same calendar that has the bill due dates. Everything else such as account information, passwords, and any actions happening on the account should be kept in a document. This will help you make sure no information is lost or forgotten.
Choose a Power of Attorney
Power of attorney will need to be given to someone by your parents so they have the legal power to handle their accounts and finances. This person will be in charge of all accounts, bills, insurance, investments, etc. Depending on the family, your parents may even want to appoint more than one power of attorney. Whoever agrees to take on the role as power of attorney needs to be aware of the responsibilities that come along with it and be an active role in your senior parent’s life.
Check Wills and Trusts
First, make sure that your parents have wills. If they don’t that will have to be a completely separate conversation but if they do, make sure they have everything up to date. A will or trust is important to have in place because it determines who inherits assets and estates when parents pass. While you are sorting out current finances with your parents, their will is something to also factor in. To get all this done, consider bringing in an elder care attorney.
Things happen and unexpected events can affect your parent’s life. This is why it’s important to get their finances in place before it’s too late. Although it may be overwhelming to think about, the end results will you give you and your parents a safe and stress-free life. Here at BlueStar SeniorTech, we want to make sure you and your senior parent are living the best life possible. We offer technology to enhance the lives of you and your loved ones. To get yours today, visit our website or call a product specialist at (800) 300-1725, option 1.