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How to Help Aging Parents Manage Finances

Elder Financial Abuse

Navigating money with your aging parents can be a minefield. Perhaps your parents are healthy now, but you want to make sure you have a plan in place when they get older, or perhaps you’ve noticed that they’re already falling behind in managing their expenses and obligations. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about helping your parents with their money.

Generate a list of all their accounts

If your parents are still in good mental and physical health, this would be a great time to create a list of all their different savings or investment accounts, as well as any records or account numbers, in an easy-to-find place. You might find it helpful to use a recent tax return so that you know what accounts are still active, for which you should locate documentation.

Watch out for warning signals that they may not be keeping up

If, when you visit your parents’ home, you find stacks of bills, notice lots of new and expensive purchases, or observe them receiving a lot of calls from creditors, it may be a sign that they are no longer able to manage these obligations without help. Con artists prey on the elderly and will take advantage of an older person who seems to be losing acuity and is loose with their finances. Researchers estimate that one in ten people over 60 become victims of financial fraud. Intervene before your parents become a statistic.

Consider a Power of Attorney

If you feel like you want more ability to act as a safeguard before your parents make any big financial decisions, have a conversation with your parents about obtaining a power of attorney. Having the legal framework set up before your parents become entirely incapable of managing their finances will allow a seamless transition to you taking over their accounts. Be sure to keep track of where the power of attorney is stored, so that you have it at the ready to show to financial institutions, proving you’re authorized to act on your parents’ behalf. An estate planning attorney can help you create the necessary documents to obtain power of attorney over your parents.

Dealing with fights over your parents’ finances, either with conniving outsiders or, unfortunately, deceitful family members, can be challenging, but help from a seasoned estate planning attorney can make it much easier. The most important way to ensure that your parents’ financial wishes are carried out is to contact an attorney to create a reliable will or living trust, and to ensure that their assets are protected. Contact Louisville estate planning attorney John Ruby for help with any will and trust needs, at 502-459-4216.