An article in this month’s Money Magazine about handling your parent’s money caught my eye because I just read something about buying long term care insurance for your parents and was giving it a lot of thought. The article in the magazine was about handling your parent’s money and what were the best ways to go about bringing up the subject with them. I found it to be pretty useful as I think about my mom’s future, and figured I would paraphrase a few of the main issues with my thoughts on each.
1. Talk to them about health care, and be sure they have a signed health-care proxy. I need to work on this with my mom.
2. Bring in some help if necessary. This could be an attorney, a CPA, or another kind of professional who deals with these issues.
3. Be an example for them. They tried to set a good example for you when you were growing up, it might be your turn to return the favor.
4. Create a list of their accounts, wills, directives. Having everything laid out in front of them might inspire them to allow you to help them.
5. Get them to sign a power or attorney which authorizes someone to manage their affairs. Another thing to ask my mom about…again.
6. Close any loopholes. Some banks/institutions require their own power of attorney forms to be signed; make sure all relevant forms for every bank are filled out and turned in.
7. Take your time going over everything. Not everyone thinks as fast as you might; just think about how young kids play video games that you could never master now! Take your time and explain everything you are doing so that they fully understand and can appreciate what you are doing for them.
I would venture to say that the most important thing to keep in mind is that your parents managed their lives for very long time and you might feel some resistance from them if you inquire about helping them. No one wants to feel like they cannot take care of themselves! So go slow, explain all the steps, and tell them you are just trying to help because you truly care about their well-being!