By: Paul Lorrah
Initiating a difficult conversation is much easier to do in happy times. So is making a plan to take over the finances of an elderly loved one.
As parents live longer, more and more children find it necessary to step in and help pay bills, make investment decisions, apply for benefits and arrange for long-term care. Starting early lets you discuss various options and ensure you know your relative’s intentions and desires.
Where should you begin?
Have the proper Power of attorney documents drafted and be sure it includes HIPAA authorizations. Have both a Financial Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney. The HIPAA authorization gives the designee access to important medical information, while a Health Care Power of Attorney allows the designee to make critical medical decisions on your loved one’s behalf. Also, take the time to understand where and how your relative would like to live if their health fails. Remember, preparing for the future involves more than simply taking care of finances.
Once you have the basics in place, try to automate as many transactions as possible. Set up direct deposits and automated payments for housing, utility, and other standard expenses. Locate important items such as life or health insurance policies, benefit plans, retirement plans, and bank accounts then place all of the necessary information in one safe place with a back-up copy either with a close relative that is assisting or in a safe deposit box.
Research federal and state benefits: look at benefitscheckup.org and eldercare.gov for discounts on taxes, utility bills, and health care and social service providers in your area.
In short, initiate these tough conversations now and help your loved one set up a system so both their life and yours can be smoother and more worry-free. When you do this, as time passes you will be prepared, if necessary, to take more control secure in the knowledge that you and your loved one are prepared for almost any eventuality.
Questions about your aging parents legal documents and long term care? Contact us today! 855.471.6771