Parents often dread having “the talk” with their teenage children about sex and drugs. Many of these same adults in their 50s and 60s are now also having “the talk” with their parents about their finances, says Cameron Huddleston, author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances, who had to talk to her own 65-year-old mother who had recently been diagnosed with Altzheimers. Soon she realized that many of her friends were going through the same financial conversations with their parents:
“The twenty-two percent of adults who don’t think their parents’ finances are any of their business don’t realize there’s a good chance that their parents’ finances will be their business at some point.”
Eventually, says Huddleston, your parents’ financial business becomes your business. Huddleston told NextAvenue three types of conversations adult children need to have with their parents.
1. Your parents didn’t save enough for retirement
You may need to encourage them to move somewhere smaller, more manageable and more affordable.
2. They’re not doing a good job managing their finances
Offer suggestions to get them back on track so they don’t jeopardize your financial well-being.
3. Do they have a will or advance health care directive
If your parents don’t have a will or an advance health care directive and haven’t given you a power of attorney, then if they are no longer mentally competent — may be due to dementia or a stroke or a car accident — you can’t step in and make financial and health decisions. You would need to go through a lengthy and expensive court process to be named their conservator or guardian.
Often children aren’t aware of their parent’s estate plans and options and don’t know how to discuss finances with aging parents. Many times children find themselves unexpected financial advisors or even caretakers for their parents and aren’t adequately informed to make good decisions. An experienced Illinois elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-800-0112.