What issues should I consider for my aging parent?

Becoming a caregiver for aging parents can be a drain emotionally and can carry financial ramifications both for parents and the caregivers. Helping our clients understand and manage the financial issues involved can make the situation a bit easier.

In this checklist, we cover a number of financial issues that our clients need to consider when faced with helping and potentially caring for aging parents, including:

  • Be sure clients examine their parents’ finances to determine if they are able to manage their own expenses. There may be sources of income available to their parents of which the parents are unaware.

  • It’s important to remind our clients to be sure they have access to their parents’ important documents such as any estate planning documents. They should have the names and contact information of any advisors their parents use such as an attorney, financial advisor, or accountant.

  • If our clients’ parents need long-term care, they will need to investigate ways to cover the cost. Medicaid planning or a reverse mortgage might be options.

  • If the estate of our client's parents is over a certain amount, then they may have an estate tax issue. It’s also essential for our clients to ensure that their parents’ beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans are up to date and that they reflect their wishes.

  • It’s important for our clients to ensure that their parents’ tax situation is in order, managing any capital gains or losses, as well as fully utilizing any deductible medical expenses.

  • Overall, it’s helpful to stress to our clients the benefit of having a handle on all of their parents’ assets, liabilities, and all related financial issues as a time may come when their parents are unable to manage their own affairs.

This is a comprehensive checklist of the types of financial issues that advisors should be discussing with their clients who are dealing with aging parents.

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