You love your parents and only want what’s best for them. Their well-being is of the utmost importance to you. Like most adults, they value their independence, enjoy living on their own in New York and are still able to drive and go grocery shopping and do their housekeeping without help. However, you are starting to fret about how long your mom and dad can manage their financial affairs.
Responsibilities like their paying the bills on time, dealing with tasks related to a business they own and making an estate plan if they do not have one already worry you. It’s a hard topic to bring up, but you might need to in the near future.
Don’t stick your head in the sand about parents’ finances
Putting off having this sensitive discussion could leave your parents at risk for being victimized by scammers — or worse. It can be challenging to know when it is time for you to step in and get professional assistance regarding your parents’ financial affairs. There are some indications that can indicate whether they require help with their savings, investments, end-of-life arrangements and other associated duties.
Look for these warning signs
The following red flags should get your attention. If you notice them, sit down with your parents as soon as possible to talk about their finances and what, if any, plans they have in place.
- Frequent calls from creditors
- Sketchy people calling to ask for money
- Charities that keep calling for additional donations
- Unopened, unread and unanswered correspondence
- Actions from collection agencies
- Bounced checks or unpaid bills
- Unusually lavish purchases
How you can help
Ask your parents to consider naming a durable power of attorney for health care and financial matters, as well as drafting living wills. Having an expert guide all of you is a wise move, too.