There comes a point in life when your parents stop taking care of you, and you begin to take care of them. The modern world is changing so quickly that for people who were born in a different time, it can be difficult to keep up.
Many people laugh at their parents for not being able to start a Zoom call or use an iPhone, but this can be quite debilitating for some older people. Our lives are all digital now, and we manage everything from our phones and computers, including our finances, careers, and social lives.
While it might take you five minutes to set up online banking or download a job application, an older person without assistance could find themselves struggling to pay their rent or stuck without a job as a result.
Therefore, if you have elderly parents who are struggling to manage their finances, you have a duty to help them out. Maybe they are forgetting to pay their bills or making unusual purchases. In the worst-case scenario, they might be entering the early stages of dementia and will soon be unable to make sense of their money at all.
Whatever the reasons, older people can often be quite resistant to having someone step in and take charge of their finances. They still want to feel independent and in control, and not feel as though you are taking this away from them.
To prevent this defensiveness and help your loved ones look after their money, here are five tips to help elderly parents manage their finances.
Work with them
If you attempt to take complete control of your parents’ finances, you will inevitably encounter some resistance. The best approach is to work together with your parents to help them make decisions. They will still feel they have some control and that you are only there to give a helping hand.
Locate important documents
Some people are incredibly organized with their important documents, while others stuff things in drawers and forget about them. If you are going to help your relatives with their money, you must locate any important documents like wills, insurance policies, and pension statements. This way, you have the information you need if you ever need to jump in.
Get access to financial accounts
Getting access to your parent’s bank accounts will allow you to make important decisions if they become unable to do so themselves. This can be tricky to get the requisite legal permission from financial institutions, and you may require a durable power of attorney.
Keep your whole family informed
Whatever decisions you make, it’s essential that you run them past every single family member. Even if you have been appointed the financial decision-maker, it’s a good idea for everyone to be on the same page to avoid conflicts arising at a later stage.
Look to the future
If your parents don’t yet have a will or estate plan, you should work with them to start the process as soon as possible. You will need to consult with a lawyer or financial planner to make the arrangements, and you should involve your parents in the decision-making as much as is feasible.