Tips for Helping Aging Parents Manage Insurance and Finances

One of those topics that comes up in our agency frequently is when people are experiencing all the problems that accompany the aging of their parents. Maybe your parents are 80 years of age or perhaps they are younger, but maybe their health is failing. Their children now need to be involved to help manage their affairs.

This is a very difficult topic because we all want to be very sensitive and maintain our respect for our parents. They are not disabled, they’re not children. But they definitely need a younger person’s involvement in helping to manage their affairs.

The Practical Issues to Talk to an Aging Parent About

Some of the basic tips that we’ll begin with, while not getting deep into legalities, are the basic practical issues that an adult child needs to have in line to help take care of their parents. 

  1. You need first to create that open communication with your parent that you are there to help manage their affairs. You’re not there to take over or dictate, but you definitely need to help establish that boundary. 
  2. You need access to all their bank accounts or their financial affairs. Again, that’s privileged information so you want to do that with sensitivity, but you want to get your name on their checking account in case there’s a change of cognitive ability because then it can’t be done. 
  3. Gain access to their utility bills. You want to see where their expenses are. 
  4. You want to learn what their expectations are. 
  5. You want to know where their important documents are. 
  6. You want to know who their attorney is.
  7. You need to find out where their life insurance benefit papers are.
  8. You need to learn about their health insurance. What is their prescription drug coverage? 
  9. Find out which pharmacy they like to use.

These are just the absolute practical matters.

Next, Getting Legal and Medical Permissions

For many of those matters, you want to get a form signed that has a HIPAA authorization, so that you can talk to their doctor or healthcare provider or pharmacy and help them manage your parent’s care.

Again, I want to stress this—this is a highly sensitive subject and if it’s done with proper respect and open communication before you’re faced with a crisis, it will help smooth the way.

Long term, you’re absolutely going to want a meeting with an attorney to create powers-of-attorney or get their wills or trusts updated. In the meantime, there’s a lot that can be done, just with parent-to-child communication and those are no cost. That is simply talking.

If you want to talk through these issues or get more help with these arrangements, our agency is involved with all these matters. Call us at (314) 544-5400 or fill out the form on our contact page to get in touch. 

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