Elder care can be a difficult topic to discuss with aging parents, but it is important for adult children to know and understand their parents’ needs and wishes when it comes to their long-term care. When talking to your parents about their long-term care plans, there are some important questions you need to ask.
- What are your assets? It is important to establish roughly how much money your parents have in cash, investments, and Social Security when figuring the cost of care versus their savings.
- Do you anticipate needing financial support? Since the average life expectancy continues to lengthen, more and more people are outliving their retirement savings. Ask your parents whether they have enough to sustain them for he rest of their lives. If they do not, help them determine how much support they will need.
- What types of insurance do you have? Do you have adequate health, long-term care, and/or life insurance? Knowing how much your parents’ insurance covers can save time and money in the care planning process. Plus, if there are any gaps in their insurance plan, planning early can mean the difference between being eligible or not for certain policies.
- Who are your beneficiaries? If your parents have life insurance or 401(k) plans, note the heirs that are listed on their policies. Make sure their beneficiaries are updated before there are any questions of competency.
- Will you share your passwords and account numbers? Ask your parents for a copy of all important account numbers and passwords, along with the contact information for their financial advisers and lawyers. If they have a safety deposit box containing any valuables or estate plans, make sure you find out where the key is stored. This will make it easier to sort out their affairs in the event of sudden illness or death. If they are not comfortable disclosing this information with you, make sure that an estate and trust attorney or a family attorney has all the information needed.
- Have you assigned a power of attorney? Make sure your parents assign a power of attorney in the event of a medical emergency.
- Is your will up to date? If your parents do not yet have a will, urge them to draft one, regardless of how small their estate is. This will minimize the chances of any arguments that may arise regarding their possessions.
Because the subject of long-term elder care can be tricky, make sure to broach it with respect and compassion. Let your parents know that you want to help ensure they are well taken care of for the rest of their lives. Contact Assisting Angels for help in long-term care planning for your loved ones.