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7 Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents About Their Finances

Financial management

“Let’s talk about your finances.”

Just hearing that can cause your parents’ wall to come up.  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. Do they keep financial documents in a safe? In a safety deposit box? In a file in the attic? Wherever their safe place is, you need to know how to access it. That means you need to get the combination to the safe or the keys to the safety deposit box and keep them with you.

  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? You need to be able to easily access this information for them when the time comes for long-term care, or if something were to happen to your parents.

  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. Do your parents receive social security or disability checks? Do they have monthly retirement checks coming in? Maybe they receive dividends from investments. Wherever it comes from, knowing how much money 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. Something as simple as knowing if your parents send in a monthly check or have automatic payments set up for their utilities or insurance premiums can mean the difference between keeping their lights on and their insurance in good standing. 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. You will need to contact each of these professionals early on in the process of managing your parents’ finances so you can have a clear overall picture of their complete financial profile.

The Traditions Difference

Traditions Senior Living wants you and your aging parents to be financially prepared for long-term care when the time comes. Don’t be afraid to sit down with them and have a comprehensive financial talk. We’re here for you to answer any questions you may have about the cost of senior living and nursing home care so you and your aging parents know what to expect and how to prepare. Contact us at (615) 591-8231 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or direct you to an expert.


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