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When to have a discussion about finances with your parents

When to have a discussion about finances with your parents

We often work with families where children are caregivers for their parents. Inevitably, the conversation of finances comes up. This is often a difficult and awkward discussion.

Recent studies by a variety of financial institutions showed that almost two-thirds of parents and their adult children1 are at odds as to when detailed conversations on key financial topics, including retirement preparedness, eldercare and estate planning, should take place.

Even more concerning, is the gap between parents concern and their adult children’s concern about finances. Studies show that about 55% of adult children worry about their parents finances vs. only about 25% of their parents. The rising cost of health care and senior care is now a cause for major concern. It is a fact that we are living longer but more often than not, our elderly loved ones will require long term senior care which can cost up to $100,000 per year.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

We have learned that these discussions [between parent and adult children] aren’t always easy, but there can be real emotional and financial consequences when they don’t happen. It’s important that families take the time to sort through important matters related to retirement preparedness, care giving responsibilities, estate planning and the tax implications of an inheritance.

Census figures and recent studies indicate that in the next 11 years, our elderly population will double. This means that caregivers and children of elderly loved ones will be dealing with a situation that for many, is something that we are totally unprepared for.

How to Build a Better Discussion
Start the conversation and ask as many detailed questions as you can. 93 % of parents who had detailed discussions with their children about wills and estate planning say it brought greater peace of mind; 73 percent said it would help their children’s emotional state of mind, too.
Parents should have final say. While family members should have a role in the planning process, make sure the ultimate decisions made are consistent with the wishes of the parents, who are charting the course of their retirement.
The right people and the right topics. Advanced planning can help you define roles, determine what conversations to have, and choose when and how different people will be involved. For example who will have the power of attorney or be the executor of the estate? It is important to consider the personalities of each child, their proximity and their relationship with their parents.
Follow-up and keep the dialogue going. These conversations are not “one and done.” Keep the momentum going and schedule as many get-togethers as you need—and revisit the plans you make at least annually, to make sure they still make sense.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

How to Talk to Elderly Parents About Their Finances

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.

Personal information

  • 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.

Legal documents

  • 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.