The role reversal between parent and child isn’t easy. Many children, during the Covid pandemic assumed the role of caregivers, to protect their parents from financial predators and assisting in the management of their finances, and daily chores. Additionally, some elderly parents, without dementia may find it more challenging to pay bills or stay on top of finances.
Here are some guidelines to remember:
- Watch for red flags: Every family situation is different, but when parents stop taking care of themselves or their home, it may be time for their adult children to step up. A look at a parent’s credit card bills can be revealing. What is the parent paying for, and are the goods and services redundant? Are there items being purchased that add no value to the health and well being of the parent?
- Start small: A “heavy-handed” approach could rub parents the wrong way. Adult children might ask their parents’ permission to access copies of bank statements or set up online banking and automatic bill pay. This becomes especially important if parents and children live in different parts of the country.
- Stay in touch with other people in your parents’ life: If there is a caregiver, make sure the caregiver advises you on changes in circumstances, or if the parent is being harassed by people asking for money, or donations. Children should be educated on what their parent or parents are doing, especially if they are in a second or third marriage. Schedule a visit to the parents’ local bank to introduce yourself.
- Keep other siblings in the loop: Sharing responsibility for aging parents can cause friction among siblings, especially if there are concerns over a potential inheritance. Some families choose to delegate financial responsibilities to one person, while others, may divide tasks according to siblings’ skills or proximity.
Page 2 “It’s The Law”
- Set up two powers of attorney, one Durable and one Health Care. A power of attorney may authorize children to make business or financial decisions, and health care decisions for their parent when necessary. This topic can be touchy, especially for parents used to being on their own and independent. Remember, a power of attorney can be abused thus, requiring strict oversight. Be Educated! Be Proactive!