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5 Critical Financial Topics to Talk About With Aging Parents

Last Updated

January 10, 2020

Written By

Guy Taddeo

5 Critical Financial Topics to Talk About With Aging Parents
We want to protect our parents and their financial assets the same way they protected us. Doing so can feel overwhelming considering many of us are balancing a lot in our lives: kids, grandkids, our own finances, and then some. To simplify the process, here are five financial topics to discuss with your parents now to ensure their wishes are known and plans are made.

woman with older parents

1. Estate Planning: Don’t let the fancy phrase overwhelm you. No matter the size of an estate, it’s really important to know how they want their assets shared. Make sure they have a current will. If they do not have one or have an outdated one, start the process now as it can take time to put the necessary thought and work into getting all necessary affairs in order. Make sure that all assets, including savings account, money market accounts, etc., have been accounted for. Statistical studies show that 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan. Please don’t let your parents be part of that group.

2. Advanced Healthcare Planning: With growing healthcare costs and changes in insurance, healthcare quickly becomes a financial conversation. Just as important as a will is a living will. You can check with them and their primary care provider to see if they have one. Find out if they will be using Medicare or Medicaid. Has someone been appointed as a healthcare proxy? Do they have or need long-term care coverage? A wonderful local source that’s available at no cost to you to help you with these questions is Monroe County’s NY Connects,

3. Home: If your parent(s) still lives at home, they will understandably have a sentimental connection to that house. It might make sense to keep the house, refinance, or take out a home equity loan to add ramps, lifts, safety bars, etc. Others may need to sell and move to an assisted-living community or nursing home facility depending on the appropriate level of care needed and what family members are able to provide. This is a big decision that certainly has financial implications that requires planning. A member of our Mortgage Department can sit with you and run through all the scenarios to help you and your parent(s) make an informed call.

4. Insurance: Do your parents have life insurance? Do they need it? If you were to take all of their assets and subtract all of their debt would they come out ahead? When someone dies, their debt doesn’t necessarily become the responsibility of the family to repay, but if the individual dies with debt and doesn’t have the savings to cover it, an estate sale may be required to pay things off which limits what can be passed on to family members. 

5. Fraud: Scam artists are merciless and often target senior citizens. Whether it is identity theft, unethical salespeople, financial schemes, or something else, be aware of common scams and make sure your parents are too. Make sure they can call you if something seems out of order. In more extreme cases it may be necessary to have you added to bank accounts to help control the flow of money.

Some parents are more receptive than others to discuss these topics but putting it in the context of protecting the money and assets they’ve worked a lifetime to build, and doing so while they’re in good health, helps to put things in perspective. It’s helpful to have as much information as possible regarding these topics and to have an objective third party available to help. Please know that at Family First, our experts are more than happy to sit with you and your parents to help navigate these processes and keep their money protected so that they stay protected. We always put members first.

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