Parentís Finances: Help Them Without Hurting Yourself.
parentís finances: What do I really need to know?
elder parentís finances can quickly impact upon your own if you're not
careful. Your thinking about your elder parentís finances may not even
include some of the everyday things you do for them such as buying
groceries, buying a warmer coat, paying to install a ramp, or the many
trips back and forth to the doctorís office. But, their expenses
include the small everyday things as well as the large things that may
come to your awareness suddenly such as the need for adult day care
and a way to pay for it. You need a way to regulate the smaller
expenses as well as figuring out a way to pay for the larger ones.
These are all things to consider in an analysis of your elder parent's
parentís finances: It's tough and it's personal
various aspects of your elder parentís finances involve some very
tough and very personal decisions. Many of your decisions will depend
upon your own financial security and their financial insecurity, as
well as your personal relationship with your parent or personal views.
However, you need to be very careful not to compare yourself with
others and to consider your decisions immoral, unless you are
obviously doing something very wrong. There's nothing wrong with not
wanting to undermine your own financial stability or dip into your
children's college fund to pay for your parents bills.
first step is always to learn about all of the benefits, services and
programs that are available in your area to help with your concerns.
Many times, families with very limited resources, pay for all of their
parentís expenses without realizing that there are actually public and
private programs available in the community to help. Learn about
Medicaid, Medicare, PACE programs, VA benefits, benefits for
government employees and their families, and other work-related
benefits that may extend to your parents or other family members.
There are many services available in the community such as old-age
care, transportation, meals on wheels, and various community services
that may be available free of charge or on a sliding scale. Reverse
mortgages are also available in many cases to provide a relatively
creative solution to some of your elder parentís financial problems.
parentís finances: What should I do next?
learning about some of the benefits available in the community to
assist in your elder parentís finances, the second step involves
looking carefully at your own financial resources. What do you need to
live on and retire? How do you continue to care for your children and
provide for their education future? What can you afford to spend? Are
you really willing to spend it?
decide to spend some of your own money, do you have siblings who are
willing to share the burden? You should probably create a fund in
which you all contribute appropriately and then appoint someone to
keep track of the expenses associated with the fund.
you're the only family member willing or able to help, you can treat
many of the expenses as a business arrangement. There's nothing wrong
with considering many of the daily expenses within the context of a
business arrangement. For example, if you give your mother a loan, she
may be willing to pay it off (with or without interest) upon her
death. You may even consider buying her house and allowing her to
remain in it until she dies which would then provide her with more
spending money. If you make an arrangement like this, you should write
up a contract with clearly defined terms and have it signed by both
parties, so there is no misunderstanding.
are beginning to see that you're paying for everyday expenses that are
starting to add up, you should keep a record of what you spend. You
may be able to identify ways to deduct some of these expenses from
your taxes, including declaring your parent as a dependent. Also, you
may be able to work it out so that you are reimbursed from their
estate after their death. Always alert your siblings about the
expenses you're paying and make sure they agree to the reimbursement
plan. You should then send them regular financial reports and keep
very meticulous records which include all bills, receipts and canceled
checks. You don't want your parentís finances to undermine your
personal relationships with your siblings or other family members.
not betraying assumptions of goodwill by making the transactions
associated with your elder parentís finances more of a businesslike
arrangement. Many of the closest family relationships can be
absolutely destroyed by financial issues. There will be much less
contention if everything is decided in advance and maintained in a
businesslike manner related to your elder parentís finances.
Adapted from How to Care
for Aging parents by Virginia Morris
Webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
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