Adult children often struggle to begin a conversation about finances with an aging loved one. For many families, financial matters were never discussed in front of “the children.” As a senior loved one gets older or begins to experience health problems, however, these conversations become increasingly more important.
In the event of a crisis, would you know what bills your aging parent has that need to be paid or if they have crucial documents like a health care power of attorney in place? Sometimes a senior’s health problems are gradual and families have time to prepare. Other times they come without warning. If something happens to your older family member, would you be prepared?
Financial Questions to Ask an Aging Parent
To help you get started, we developed a list of basic questions to review with your aging loved one before a crisis occurs:
Where do they keep their Medicare and/or health insurance card?
Do they have gap insurance or any secondary insurance?
What is their social security number and where do they keep their card? (Remind them not to keep the card in their purse or wallet. It should be locked in a safe place to help them avoid becoming the victim of identity theft).
Do they have documents such as a health care and/or financial power of attorney? Living Will? Who has copies? Where are the originals?
Do they have a will? Who is their attorney of record? Who is the executor?
Do they have any life insurance or long-term care insurance policies? Where are those documents?
Do they have a safe deposit box? Where is it located? Do they have a list of what they store in it? Where is the key kept?
Where is their original birth certificate?
What bank do they use to pay bills? Are the accounts online? Does any family member have authority to use it?
Do they have a list of bills that are due each month and how are they paid?
Do they owe money on their home? What bank is that through? If not, where is the deed to the house?
Is their car paid in full? Where is the title?
Do they have a comprehensive list of their stocks, bonds and other assets? Where is that kept?
While it may be an uncomfortable conversation to start, it is all very important information to have. If a crisis occurs, you want to be able to make sure their bills are paid on time and their wishes for health care and other decisions are honored.