It’s important that seniors have a plan for their later years, yet adult children in Texas often must become involved to ensure parents have made arrangements for their future. Despite this, GoBankingRates professionals say that 73% of adult children have not discussed finances with their older parents. Many avoid broaching the topic because they don’t know how to begin the conversation. Discussing parents’ plans takes patience and sensitivity, but using financial and estate planners’ ‘ tips make it easier.
Choose the Time and Place Carefully
The time you talk about your parents’ plans is as crucial as the approach. Select a time when both are alert, healthy, and calm. Avoid bringing up the subject during a crisis or when parents are very emotional.
It might seem logical to chat about the future when the family has gathered for an event. However, that can present problems. Family members may be drinking, children might be disruptive, and you don’t want guests overhearing your parents’ personal information.
It’s best to talk when everyone is relaxed and is likely to be receptive. Older adults are often independent and may be reluctant to discuss the matter even if they know they will eventually need help or can no longer live safely in their homes. Parents struggling with everyday tasks are more likely to consider living in a senior living community if the idea is presented with care and tact.
Bring Siblings into the Conversation
Because finding the right moment to discuss parents’ plans can be difficult, it is tempting to talk to them the first chance you have them alone; however, if there are other siblings, they may feel resentful and left out. In most families, parents are closest to one sibling. Ask that person if they would start the discussion with the parents. You can bring in others later., which won’t feel overwhelming to parents and ensures everyone is included.
Also, think about your parents’ viewpoint. Some are most comfortable discussing serious matters with their oldest child, or they might want to have planning conversations with a child with estate planning or financial experience. This could be especially meaningful to them if they’re faced with serious considerations like choosing a memory care community for a parent with dementia.
Talk About Your Future Plans
If you sense your parents might resist a direct approach, talk about plans you’ve made. MassMutual advisors suggest mentioning that you’ve made a will or are working on estate planning. It’s an ideal chance to ask parents whether they have thought about such details.
You might inquire about their plans in case one or both get sick. Some older adults welcome these discussions but haven’t found a way to bring them up. Mentioning the recent death of a family member, acquaintance, or even a public figure can be a way to begin the conversation.
Point Out the Importance of Planning
Parents typically want to continue the lives they enjoy and expect to leave a family inheritance after their death. Despite this fact, a surprising number do not talk to an estate planning or financial professional about their future.
One way to tactfully discover your parents’ plan is to ask about their retirement arrangements. Principal financial experts suggest asking whether parents want to downsize or what type of care they prefer. Although many parents want to age in place, many cannot remain at home, and a retirement discussion could be the ideal time to discuss assisted living options.
A sensitive way to caution parents against failing to plan is to let them know you want to ensure their affairs are organized, so you can respect their wishes. Let them know that without planning, you might need to go through the courts to seek guardianship if you or your siblings need to manage their care or finances.
Discuss How to Fund Their Future
If you find that your parents have planned their future by saving, investing, and working with professionals, there is little for you to do. However, you could also discover that your parents have not considered how to fund their plans.
Some may assume that Medicaid will pay for long-term expenses. They may believe they will live with one of their children at some point. It’s essential to clarify these issues.
Suppose your parents cannot cover their eventual expenses; research and determine if they qualify for financial help. Some programs can help pay for prescriptions, health care, and utilities. Review parents’ pensions, social security benefits, and insurance policies to understand their situation.
Because financial planning is essential for seniors, adult children should discuss their older parent’s finances. It’s critical for all siblings to be involved and to approach the subject directly but tactfully and determine their plans. Children can help parents make arrangements, such as completing a will and power of attorney. It’s also a chance to ensure parents have a way to fund their plans.
Riverpoint of Kerrville is an assisted living and memory care community in Kerrville, Tx. The experienced staff is committed to providing exceptional care and creating an engaging, energetic atmosphere for residents.