Retirement & Financial Planning Report

People with elderly parents often come to a point where they have to consider assuming some of the responsibility for managing their parents’ finances, for reasons generally relating to concerns about potential mismanagement of money and increased vulnerability to fraud.

That can be tricky because many people don’t like the idea of giving up control of their money, even if they realize they no longer can handle their own affairs as they used to.

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And you may be reluctant, as well, for any of a number of reasons including the added responsibility and the potential for dissent among siblings.

If all parties agree that this is something you should do, though, some key steps include:

* Make a list of your parents’ sources of income and other assets that can be used to cover expenses. Get in touch with their accountant, broker, or other advisors.

* Set up a joint checking account for yourself and your parents. Request that copies of the statements be sent you. If necessary, obtain a power of attorney.

* Use a joint debit card, tied to that account, to pay for your parents’ groceries, medicine, clothes, etc.

* Verify credentials of anyone who assists your parents with their finances.

* Monitor account statements to guard against embezzlement.

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