Your parents were there for you when you were young. They probably taught you a lot about finances as you grew up. Even if the lessons weren’t direct (stern lectures with a furrowed brow), you probably learned a lot about money through watching your parents and their relationship with money. Bookstores are filled with books about how your upbringing affects your relationship with money. But as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into its third month of real disruptions to our lives, those of us in the sandwich generation are being called into entirely new roles. While we are trying to keep our kids (and ourselves) safe, what about our parents? Many of them can be at risk and unable to run their errands. That can include their banking, which many of them are used to doing face to face. So, what do we do?

This week, Veronica Dagher has a good article in the Wall Street Journal about How to Help Your Parents With Their Finances. She presents it as a guide for you on what you’ll need.

Helping Your Parents

Ms. Dagher breaks her guide into a few different concepts,

  • How do I broach the subject?
  • What documents will I need?
  • What other information should I gather?
  • How can I help them pay their bills?
  • What if my parents can’t pay their bills?
  • How can I protect my parents from scammers in the meantime?

These are all good things for you to consider when examining your parents and their financial situations.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney can be used in a variety of ways. As we are discussing the article, the Wall Street Journal was considering financial powers of attorney. Also important, especially during this pandemic, are healthcare powers of attorney. Those allow others to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

A financial power of attorney allows you to select a trusted family member or friend who will be responsible for managing your money and other property if you become mentally incapacitated (unable to make your own decisions) due to illness or injury. Without this document, bills won’t get paid, tax returns won’t be filed, bank and investment accounts held in your name will become inaccessible, retirement distributions can’t be requested, and property can’t be bought, sold, or managed.

As you work to help your parents, hopefully you can see the importance of a power of attorney (both financial and medical). They aren’t complex documents to draft. But working with an attorney, you can make sure you get it properly put together for you and your parents.

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Next Steps

If you’ve been considering a power of attorney to help manage your parents’ finances, or this is the first you are hearing of it and would like more information, call my office to set up a Legal Strategy Session and we can discuss if it is the best option for your family’s situation – (877) AMAYERS.

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