Getting older means a person could have greater difficulty handling important tasks like keeping up with personal finances. If you have aging parents, you should watch for signs that your mother or father may need help with paying bills and keeping track of money. It may even become necessary for you to take over their financial decisions.
It is natural to not want to intrude on the independence of your loved ones. However, you do not want your parent to experience financial ruin because of poor decision-making. Kiplinger explains some signs that you may have a parent in need of assistance.
Falling behind with payments
Pay attention to the mail your parents receive, particularly bills and past-due notices. As people get older, they may forget to do things they once handled with ease, like writing checks and mailing them off. A possible solution is to use automatic electronic payments to pay bills so that your parent is not responsible for mailing checks.
Lacking organization of assets
It is possible that your parent has so many different financial accounts that your loved one does not know where all of them are. This could be a problem if your parent is facing a number of delinquent bills and needs to find the money to pay them off. It may take a lot of work, but your family might comb through a variety of documents to track down the assets your parent owns and consolidate them if possible.
Becoming at risk for fraud
Another problem of growing older is that fraud is a rising concern. Your parent may have met a new so-called friend who expresses interest in the assets your parent owns. If you sense your parent is too trusting with the wrong people, you may work with your mother or father to create more asset security, such as making sure the banks that house your parent’s accounts have verification for people claiming to be your parent’s power of attorney.
It is possible your parent just needs a little help, but be on the lookout for signs that your parent may require a money manager or even for you to assume responsibility for financial decision-making. There are a number of options to fit the varying needs of families.