Aging parents are often the first to notice that they could use some help tending to their finances. Sometimes their children notice the telltale signs: bills that go unpaid, confusion about financial and other matters where there used to be alertness, growing anxiety about medical and other expenses.
You may have to act like a detective to get to the bottom of the problem and gather the information you need to help them. Where to begin? Start with the basics.
Your Parents' Income and Assests
Know how much money they have, locate their important documents and make sure they have the right insurance coverage.
If Your Parents Become Incapacitated
Make sure your parent have the right documents to spell out their desires if they can no longer make decisions for themselves.
Where Will Your Parents Live?
They have several options, including ways to stay in their own home.
When Your Parents Need Financial Help
You might be entitled to tax breaks if you're helping support mom and dad.
Adapted from Kiplinger's Practical Guide to Your Money, by the Editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine (Kaplan Publishing. Copyright 2005 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.) Available wherever books are sold or direct at kiplinger.com/store/books.