What You Should Do to Help an Aging Parent

Talking to a parent about their finances and estate planning can be a difficult discussion to start. It’s important to convey that you respect their privacy and are not prying for the wrong reasons. Here are a few discussion points if you are able to start the conversation:
• Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. You’ll want to make sure your parent has designated in writing the person who can make medical decisions when they’re no longer able to do it themselves.
• General Durable Power of Attorney. A written designation allowing someone to access accounts, pay bills, manage property, etc. is also very relevant when a parent finds they can no longer handle their own affairs.
• Real Estate. Has your parent setup their affairs so that their property passes to someone or their trust when they pass? There are estate planning techniques to pass real estate to avoid probate and protect the property from creditors.
• When a Move Cannot Be Avoided. I have met very few people who want to leave their home for an apartment, assisted living, or nursing home. But, the burden of getting around a home, cleaning, maintaining lawn, and other tasks a household requires can get to be too much. Talk to your parent about their preferences in the event they cannot stay at home.
Funeral Arrangements. Several of my clients are taking advantage of prepaid funeral contracts to alleviate the burden on their family when they pass. This allows them to choose the services they want and prepay the expenses for this unavoidable time.

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