UNDERSTAND PARENTS FINANCIAL SITUATION
What Is It?
Have a discussion with your parent about their financial situation and include other siblings if possible. Get copies of recent statements to confirm accounts and amounts, especially if they are unsure or unable to communicate.
Do We Need It?
Probably. Families often don't like to talk about money, but now is the time for the discussion to make sure that children are able to help as much as possible during this challenging time. Difficult decisions may need to be made about care options and better understanding between family members will reduce stress for everybody. Sometimes the dying spouse handled all the finances and a surviving spouse may need to take it over with little understanding. It is critical that they be taught how to pay the bills and handle their money.
If your second parent is dying, it is best if you know sooner rather than later about any outstanding debts or unknown assets.
For example, credit card and Medicaid debt will be recouped by those organizations through the probate process.
How To Do It?
First, do it now. It is never too early to have this discussion because the earlier they act the more effective a saving or asset protection strategy can be.
Need help starting the conversation? Examples include
- asking if they have an estate plan,
- talking about the cost of their different health care options,
- relating a story about a friend or family member and an experience that they had,
- ask them to share financial advice with you or your children,
- tell them your financial planner told you to speak with your parents about their situation.