We have been focused on preventing fraud and abuse for your aging parents this week during our Facebook posts. Another way to look at protecting their future funds is to simply know what they plan to spend their money on as they age. First and foremost, make sure your parents have a plan for medical and housing needs as they age. They will need a will and other legal documents drawn up by a lawyer for when they pass away as well. Many children are certainly afraid to ask their parents financial questions because money is often a forbidden topic across many relationships. However, I encourage children to keep in mind that if something were to happen to them- they would want their hard earned money spent as they wished. Their parents have their own financial wishes and in order to know those wishes- you must ask. It is important that all of the information about their finances be accessible to family members once they become incapable of making financial decisions.
The next part of the financial planning piece is even harder. Become OKAY with what mom and/or dad want to spend their money on. Once you find out their wishes, you may be surprised at whom or what they wish to spend their money on. Perhaps, they want to live at the fanciest Assisted Living Facility in town. They may plan on leaving the house to charity. Maybe they want to give every penny left to the local Zoo. Who knows how they may want to spend their money. After all of the medical expenses are paid off, their wishes should be granted. They will trust you to make sure they get what they expect.
Family members will also leave their possessions and monies to family members who you may consider irresponsible or ungrateful. Then that person may waste all of the money or ruin the things that were given to them. It is unfortunate but it is life. I say that because I too have seen families entrust their house and money to children that see it as an entitlement and not a gift. Just keep in mind that respecting your loved ones choices are the most loving and respectful thing you can do.
So have that conversation about your parents wishes and listen with an open mind.