How to Talk to Elderly Parents About Their Finances – by Nick and Joe Santoro, Personal Property Managers
Most caregivers or adult children don’t know much about their parents’ financial situation or their elder loved ones financial situation or end-of-life plans, but they need to. Getting up to speed on your elderly parents’ finances, insurance policies, long-term care plans and other information is important because some day you might have to help them handle their financial affairs or care, or execute their estate plan after they die. Without this information, your job becomes much more difficult.
This is part of a continuing series of tips and insightful discussion topics by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers www.personalpropertymanagers.com specialist in senior lifestyle transition services. Personal Property Managers handles downsizing, estate sale and content removal, full service real estate / property sale and moving elderly loved ones from their home to a senior care community in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
We suggest having a heartfelt direct talk with your parents or elderly loved ones to get a better understanding of their desires and their financial situation.
If you’re uncomfortable starting up a conversation like this with your parents, it may be a good idea to get your siblings or other family members involved. This can help you head off possible hard feelings, plus, with others involved, your parents will know everyone is concerned.
When you meet with your parents, you’ll need to sit down and create several lists of important information, find out where they keep key documents and how they want certain things handled when they die or if they become incapacitated.
Here’s a checklist of areas you need to focus on.
- Contacts: Make a list of names and phone numbers of close friends, clergy, their doctors, lawyer, accountant, broker, tax preparer, insurance agent, etc.
- Personal documents: Find out where they keep their Social Security card, marriage license, military discharge papers, etc.
- Secured places: Make a list of places they keep under lock and key or protected by password, such as online accounts, safe deposit boxes, safe combination, security alarms, etc.
- Service providers: Make a list of the companies or people who provide them regular services such as utility companies, lawn service, etc.
- Medical information: Make a copy of their medical history (any drug allergies, past surgeries, etc.) and a list of medications they take.
- Pets: If they have a pet, what are their instructions for the animal’s care?
- End of life: What are their wishes for organ or body donation, and their funeral instructions? If they’ve made pre-arrangements with a funeral home get a copy of the agreement.
- Will: Do they have an updated will or trust, and where is it located?
- Power of attorney: Do they have a power of attorney document that names someone to handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated?
- Advance directives: Do they have a living will and a medical power of attorney that spells out their wishes regarding their end-of-life medical treatment?
- Financial records
- Income and debt: Make a list of their income sources such as pensions, Social Security, IRAs, 401Ks, investments, etc. And do the same for any debt (mortgage, credit cards, medical bills, etc.) they may have.
- Financial accounts: Make a list of the banks and brokerage accounts they use (checking, savings, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, etc.) and their contact information.
- Company benefits: Make a list of any retirement plans, pensions or benefits from their former employer including the contact information of the benefits administrator.
- Insurance: Make a list of the insurance policies they have (life, long-term care, home, auto, Medicare, etc.) including the policy numbers.
- Property: Make a list of the real estate, vehicles or other properties they own, and where they keep the deeds and titles.
- Credit cards: Make a list of all their credit and charge cards, including the card numbers and contact information.
- Taxes: Find out where they keep copies of past year’s tax returns.
For more information, on this topic or other elder care transition services, such as downsizing, content removal, estate sale, home sale and full service real estate services and moving, please contact Nick or Joe Santoro at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909 www.personalpropertymanagers.com your one stop resources. Personal Property Managers, services clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.