Like it or not, if you have aging parents, at some point, you’re going to need to talk to them about money.
Their money and how they are spending it.
And it’s better to have that conversation while your parents are still in good health and, frankly, still have all their mental faculties.
Because if you wait too long, chances are that you won’t be talking with your parents about their finances, you’ll be handling their financial crisis instead.
As uncomfortable as talking to your aging parents about their finances may be, it is far better than the unfortunate reality we often see in our estate practice: seniors who get themselves into serious debt, and their children have absolutely no clue – until it’s too late.
There can be any number of reasons why your parents might be overspending. Here are just some factors that can cause a financial crisis:
- Overspending due to boredom or loneliness
- Overspending because of dementia, forgetfulness, or lack of diminished mental acuity.
- Falling for scams (telephone scams, mail fraud scams, email scams, etc.)
- Vulnerable to the undue influence of family members/friends leading to financial elder abuse.
Regardless of the cause, the point is that not addressing the issue of finances of your aging parents can end in a situation that is emotionally and financially devastating for everyone.
What you can do to prepare for the money conversation.
Before you jump into a conversation about your parents’ finances, doing what you can to prepare for the talk can go a long way towards making it more comfortable as well as more productive.
Before you talk to your parents about their money, however, know what information you need to find out. For example, it may be good to talk about getting a financial power of attorney in place. Or, you may need to know where their safety deposit box or Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is located. You should also find out the contact information for all your parents’ financial and legal advisors.
For more ideas and information about important estate planning documents your parents should have, consult with an estate and probate lawyer.
What you can do if the worst happens.
If your parents may be headed towards or in serious debt, here are some things you can consider doing:
- Look into filing bankruptcy. This can be an option for some seniors.
- Consult with an estate and probate lawyer about getting estate planning documents in place that can protect vulnerable seniors from financial abuse.
- Place limits on all existing and new credit cards to limit how much debt can accrue.
These are by no means the only steps you can take. However, they should give you some ideas about how you can be proactive when it comes to taking care of your aging parents and their finances.
Having “the talk” with your parents about their money and estate planning isn’t easy, but it is vital. Waiting to talk to your parents until it’s too late drastically limits their options and your ability to help them.
And if you need estate planning or probate guidance, we are here for you.
Protecting Your Family is Just a Phone Call Away.
Don’t leave planning for your future and that of your loved ones to chance. All it takes is one phone call to the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald to ensure that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones taken care of when you are gone. We expertly guide individuals through the complex probate process, and capably handle all aspects of the creation, administration, and settlement of trusts as well. When you work with the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. Call us at 954-580-3690 or email us at: [email protected] today.