Updated: Dec 20, 2021
The passage of time can catch you off-guard – years fly by and suddenly you realize that your parents might need help when it comes to managing their finances.
Whether that time is imminent or somewhere in the unknown future, a critical first step is simply having a conversation with your parents about their finances. Make sure you are covering these topics:
Bill paying: Do they have enough current income to pay their bills, and do they have a process to make sure payments don’t accidentally get missed? This is especially important for annual life insurance or long-term care insurance premiums. Policies they have been paying for years could lapse due to non-payment.
Do they have critical legal documents in place? We all think of a will as important, but do they have a financial power of attorney that will allow someone to act in their place if they are incapacitated? How about a living will and a healthcare power of attorney?
Do they have long-term care insurance that can help pay for their care later in life? It’s good to know what your financial responsibility might be in the future if they haven’t made any long-term care plans.
Are their IRA beneficiary designations up to date? Keep in mind that beneficiary designation forms are the “will” for IRA accounts. Additionally, there are critical tax consequences when IRA accounts are passed to the next generation without properly completed beneficiary forms.
Do you know where their investments and life insurance or long-term care insurance policies are? I have witnessed first-hand how hard it will be for you – as the adult child financial caregiver – if you have to search for this information.
Are accounts titled in such a way that the will would be circumvented? For instance, if your mom has a joint bank account with your sister, your sister will own the entire account at your mom’s passing, no matter what the will says.
Talking about money with your parents can be tough, but who knows? They might be waiting for you to start the conversation. Call us today for a complimentary meeting.