How to Handle Insurance and Other Legalities for Aging Parents

Today, there’s a serious topic for which I wanted to provide guidelines. That is this: when we, as adult children, are faced with needing to help and take over the management of affairs for an aging parent. 

This is a serious topic because respect, sensitivity, and constant communication will be the key. You need to talk about it, but you need to do it with sensitivity and respect because no parent wants to be dominated by, dictated to, or taken over by their children. At the time you should start having this conversation, they are certainly capable. However, as they age, you as their adult child will need to take care of their safety, financial affairs and other matters.

Caring for Legalities with an Attorney

When you’re dealing with these more serious topics, you will need to get involved in some of the legalities. I would highly recommend that once you’ve had some communication with your parent on this subject, you’ve got a rapport built up. Hopefully, your parent has a rapport and trust established with you. 

Now a consultation with an attorney would be very, very helpful. An attorney can help with basic issues such as creating a will, creating powers of attorney for your medical affairs, for your financial affairs, and a medical directive. What arrangements do you want to have? What does the parent want to have for the final life support systems?

Provisions for Medical Authority

You need to include an authorization for medical information under HIPAA laws. Once you have this, you’ll be able to talk to all these professionals on their behalf: 

  • Insurance agent
  • Bank officers
  • Doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Pharmacist

Your parent won’t need to be part of the conversation. When you are the adult child needing to take over management of their affairs, the legalities will become very important. 

You’re going to need to create these provisions long before you’re in a crisis mode. What I mean by a crisis mode: you want these measures in place before your parent has a stroke, or before they’ve fallen and suffered a concussion. Perhaps a cognitive impairment gets to the point that the attorney’s going to have some issues if you don’t have your legalities in place.

Other Conversations to Have with Aging Parents

There are even more basic matters you and your parent should talk about. For example: how can you get access to their bank? These are just your basic financial communications. 

Once that’s done, you’re going to need a transition to another conversation on such topics as  where is the title to the car? How about the home, insurance, properties and other assets?

I’d be happy to talk through some of those issues anytime. Call us at (314) 544-5400 or fill out the form on our contact page to get in touch. 

Skip to content