What Questions To Ask When Looking At Your Parents’ Finances

Ask These Questions When Looking at Your Parents’ Finances

If your aging parents were to fall ill or otherwise rendered incapable of handling their own finances, would you be prepared to take the wheel? It’s a difficult subject to think about, and an even tougher discussion to have, but such a conversation should not be put off. It’s better to have the information you need should you suddenly find yourself in the position of managing someone else’s finances.

Here are ten questions you need to ask now to adequately prepare yourself for the time when mom and dad can no longer manage their finances alone.

Do they have a durable power of attorney?

This may be the first and most important question to ask if you anticipate being in charge of your parents’ finances in the future. Without a durable power of attorney in place, it will be much more difficult for you to access accounts and private information if they are suddenly unable provide you access.

Where are financial records kept, and are they up to date?

If the location of important financial records is confidential, you will need access to this information sooner rather than later. Making sure that you are aware of these locations will save you trouble down the road should you need to access them unexpectedly.

What financial institutions do they use and what are their account numbers?

In addition to being able to access financial records, you will also need access to all financial accounts. Are you aware of all bank accounts, account numbers, mortgages, and investment information? Now is the time to find out.

What are their monthly expenses, and how are these currently paid?

As the designated person handling these payments in the future, it’s important that you’re made aware of all monthly expenses so that no payments are left to fall behind. If bills are automatically paid each month, you need to know that too.

What is their annual income and where does it come from?

How much money is coming in each month to be used towards the aforementioned expenses? Look into your parents’ income so that you’re made aware of all pension money, investment information, or government assistance money.

What is the full extent of their medical health insurance?

The full extent of each parent’s health insurance, whether provided by an employer, government assistance program, or other source, should be made clear to you so that you’re not left muddling through paperwork if and when you are in charge of providing them with the best possible care.

Do they have long-term care insurance or a similar plan if long-term care is required?

Not all health insurance plans cover the cost of assisted living or similar long-term care options. Now is the time to help your parents navigate their options and set up a financial plan for any future long-term care that is needed.

Do they employ an accountant or financial planner?

If there is another person assisting your parents with their finances, you need to be made aware of this, and know how to contact and work with this person.

Do they have a will or living trust?

Whether your parents have chosen to specify the desired distribution of their assets in a will or wish to leave their life’s savings in a trust, you may be put in charge of tending to these specifics in the event that one or the other becomes suddenly ill or incapacitated.

What are their end-of-life wishes?

Along the same line as above, it is important to discuss with your parents how they feel about end-of-life care. While these conversations may be sad or difficult to have, it’s better to have them now, when together you can sketch out a plan, than find yourself alone and unprepared in the face of an unexpected illness.

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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