Discussing Finances with Aging Parents and Loved Ones
Discussing financial issues is never easy, but when you need to have that conversation with aging parents or loved ones, it’s common for the conversation to become even more difficult. According to a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education, seven out of ten adults find it difficult to discuss financial issues with aging family members. However difficult you may find it, it is very important to make sure that these financial issues are dealt with ahead of time, and that the entire family is aware of how financial issues should be handled as your parents age. While every family is different and will have their own unique concerns with regards to finances, there are certain universal issues that are a good starting point for your conversations.
Take care in how you approach the conversation
Before diving into the issues, it’s a good idea to make sure your parents or loved ones are ready to have this discussion. This can be done by ensuring that you approach the topic with care and concern. It’s not a good idea to approach the conversation without a plan, so let them know you would like to discuss their finances and set a date to do so that is free of all distractions. Even if it appears that the conversation will be difficult, it’s still better to err on the side of gathering information. The last thing any grieving person wants to do is start scrambling to find legal documents and information so soon after a loss. While the discussion might not be one that you’re looking forward to, most people are relieved to get it out of the way before it’s necessary to do so.
Legal issues are the first financial situation that could arise after an elderly parent or loved one is no longer able to manage their own estate, or in the event that the parent passes away. It’s important for the children to be aware of any estate plans, and to be familiar with the will and testament. If your family has a specific attorney, it’s important to have proper contact information as well as information regarding who will act as power of attorney, should that need arise.
Medical and Healthcare
Healthcare arrangements are high on the list of financial concerns for many, and most people have specific wishes regarding how their healthcare will be handled. Not only should you discuss health insurance, and whether your parents and loved ones have additional coverage, but it is also important to be aware of any health directives that are in place, as well as your parents’ wishes should the need for extreme medical care arise. If long term care becomes necessary do they have a preferred facility? Asking questions upfront will make things run smoothly for both you and your parents.
When it comes to financial issues, you should be aware of both income and debt that your parents may have, and you should also ask them about investments and assets they own. Do you know where your parents keep their important paperwork (including tax records)? If your parents own real estate or businesses, it’s important to make sure you have access to those important documents. Do they have a personal financial advisor that you should have contact information for? You should also be aware of where they keep items such as keys to safety deposit boxes or access information to safes.
While at first it might be difficult to discuss issues related to finances and aging, it’s important that all key family members are brought into this discussion and that as much as possible, it is a conversation that the family can feel comfortable discussing together.
Here at Tobias Financial Advisors we specialize in helping high income families in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida region create financial plans that provide freedom and security into retirement and beyond. If you do not currently have a financial planner, we invite you to get in touch with us to find out how we can help. Please get in touch here.