When To Have The Difficult Financial Conversation With Your Ageing Parents

When To Have The Difficult Financial Conversation With Your Ageing Parents

No one likes to talk or think about the day when your parents, or other close relatives, are no longer able to manage with and cope with their own financial responsibilities. Imagine being independent for your whole life and then having quite suddenly to admit that you need help. It is not easy, is it? It can also be difficult for you, as their relatives, to approach them about the subject. However, if broached sensitively, you can work alongside your parents gradually and make what can be a very delicate and difficult process a lot more relaxed and more comfortable for everyone involved. Here, are some tips to help you do this.

Bring up the conversation before issues arise

It can be very tempting to keep putting it off and putting it off, but one day, the issue may rear its ugly head, and you are entirely unprepared for it. This can make things a whole lot more challenging and complicated. While you may think there is plenty of time before your parents need help, it is vital that you broach the conversation about extra support as early as possible. You may well find they are reluctant to face the issues and think about it, but in most cases, they will slowly and surely begin to come to terms with it, and you will be able to start to put plans into place and take their wishes on board. It also makes sorting any difficulties that you did not know about a lot easier. 

The most difficult thing is bringing up the conversation. Sit them down, perhaps in a familiar place where they feel safe and comfortable and while they are in good health, and ask them whom they are planning to hand over all their affairs to if ill health or other problems arise. Ask them to give written consent in advance to a designated family member, who can then be in charge of it all. You may need some additional legal support or advice from someone at Seatons Law to put this into place. This person can then discuss the parent’s personal affairs and matters with all of the essential people and authorities such as lawyers, insurance companies, banks and health care professionals. Without this written consent, they may be held back by privacy laws. 

Keep the rest of the family up to date

Assuming you are not the only living relative of your parent, it is vital that you keep the rest of the immediate family up to date and informed about what is going on, even if you have taken on sole responsibility, particularly your siblings if you have any. They can not only be a crucial avenue of support when things get tricky and upsetting but by keeping an open line of communication, you can also reduce the risk of any misunderstandings, hard feelings and family fallouts in the future.

Encourage your parents to get organized

While your parents still have their health, ask them to get themselves as organised as possible. When the time comes to take over and look after their affairs, the last thing you want to be doing is hunting down vital information or documents, especially if they are no longer in the position of being able to tall you or help you. Get them, with your help, to make a list of contacts, account numbers, passwords, and where they keep all of their relevant legal documents such as wills, birth and wedding certificates, deeds and any insurance policies. Make sure that everything is still valid and up to date. 

Keep a close eye on any signs and symptoms

It is essential to be able to recognise when the time is near to take control. This may include memory problems and physical setbacks, such as not remembering account numbers or not being able to get to the bank. Other, more subtle signs may be them complaining that they have no money, piles of unopened mail or unusual purchases. If you have already started the conversation and helped them to get their finances in order, you will know what to do if and when these signs begin to emerge. 

It is a tricky subject and one that no one wants to have to think about, let alone start to put in place, but sadly, it is one that every family should have sooner rather than later. Start putting plans into place now, and when the time comes, it is one less thing for you to have to worry about.

Claire x

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