“Let’s talk about your finances.”

Hearing that can cause your parents’ wall to come up, like most people may.  It can be a difficult conversation to have at any age or with anyone, especially when that conversation is with your aging parents in preparation for long-term care. When it comes time to have this very important conversation with your loved ones, it’s best to be prepared.

Here are 7 questions to ask your aging parents about their finances:

  1. “Do You Have a Durable Power of Attorney?”: This is possibly the most important question, and one you should have an answer to long before the need of long-term care. A Durable Power of Attorney becomes effective immediately upon signing.  It’s important to discuss both a Power of Attorney for healthcare and a Power of Attorney for finances. Having both of these documents in place provides trusted family members and caregivers to manage the medical care, finances and legal affairs of loved ones should they be unable to do for themselves.
  1. “Where Are Your Financial Records Kept?”: Knowing where important financial records are kept is vital. You need to know where to look if and when your aging parents are not able to continue managing their finances on their own. Depending on where they may keep important documentation, you’ll need the combination to their safe or the keys to the safety deposit box..
  1. “What Are The Names of Your Financial Institutions and What Are Your Account Numbers?”: Now that you know where to find their financial records, you also need to know the specifics on all of your aging parents’ accounts. How many different accounts do they have? What are the balances of the accounts? How are the accounts used?
  1. “How Much Is Your Annual Income and Where Does It Come From?”: It’s important to know this sensitive information if you are managing your parents’ finances month-to-month once they either choose not to or are unable to do it themselves. Wherever the income derives from, the amount you’re working with is the first step to keeping a balanced budget for your aging parents.
  1. “How Are Your Monthly Bills Paid?”: Oftentimes, older adults choose to keep their home even though they have moved into a nursing home facility. Be sure to ask which accounts are paid by check and which are paid automatically, and know when they’re due or withdrawn.
  1. “Do You Receive Medicaid or Medicare?”: You need to know whether or not your aging parents receive Medicaid or Medicare. Medicaid covers some nursing home costs and this could drastically relieve their out-of-pocket expenses. If you’re unsure if your parents qualify for Medicaid, you should talk with an elder-law attorney about how to “spend down” their assets until they become financially eligible.
  1. “Do You Have An Accountant, Financial Planner or Lawyer?”: In the event of an emergency or when your parents need to move into an assisted living facility, you should have the names and contact information of all parties who are financially advising your aging parents.

The Peachtree  Difference

We’re here for you to answer any questions you may have about the cost of independent and assisted living care so you and your aging parents know what to expect and how to prepare. Contact us at (205) 655-1999 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or direct you to an expert. Read the full post on Traditions Senior Living.


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