As your family member ages, health issues such as memory loss and lack of energy may emerge. Financial and debt can become more difficult. If your family member is beginning to experience a slowing down, here are some key warning signs they may now need you to begin elder care planning:

  1. Memory loss or dementia can lead to financial responsibilities being neglected. Watch for unusual spending patterns, not remembering which bills have been and have not been paid or overdraft/late fees. An inability to stay on top of routine banking is a first sign of mental slippage or possible cognitive issues. Unfortunately, scammers feed off of this pattern and may target your elderly family member, and steal from them.
  2. Start early and ask about your family member’s financial plan while they have the ability and desire to communicate effectively. Any preparations you can complete before will help, thus a good starting point is to review your family member’s financial situation, and create a plan.
  3. Designate one trusted individual to take charge of financial matters when needed. The choice should be as unanimous as possible. The goal is to ensure bills are paid on time, taxes are completed and the overall finances are up-to-date. Family transparency is crucial to make this work. The standard is always in the elder’s best interest.
  4. Ensure each asset is properly titled and has the beneficiary of your family member’s choosing, clearly designated. Suggest a meeting with a qualified attorney to make sure updates and changes have been made reflecting final wishes. A Trust may be the best comprehensive solution to holding assets.
  5. Establish automatic bill pay of routine household bills wherever possible. As memory loss persists, having automatic bill pay will ease stress and ensure debts are paid. Automatic drafts also leave a paper trail which can help you maintain order.
  6. If your family member is still financially independent, remind them often of money-related scams. Demonstrate how they can protect themselves from fraud. Give them examples and tips on how to resolve any potential risks.

Take time to talk with your parents about a plan of action regarding caregiving and financial matters. This will alleviate stress related to these issues. If you want help in getting these conversations on elder care planning started, please feel free to call Grimaldi & Yeung LLP at (718) 238-6960, and we can help begin your family member’s life plan.

The source of this article is from “Life Care Planning Today” by April Hill, Esq.

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