How to talk to aging parents about their future finances
Rochester, New York — Talking to your aging parents about finances and planning is very important.
CPA Scott Adair discussed with the New York State Society of CPAs how to structure the conversation and the key information you need to obtain.
“It’s really multi-faceted,” Adair said of the conversation.
“It’s talking about the different financial issues that they’re facing as they get a little bit older, understanding what their finances look like, having a conversation with them about things such as wills, health care proxies, and life insurance – all of those kinds of items should come up. And it’s also a good opportunity to kind of watch and listen as to their activities and the things that are going on around them in their own houses.”
For some, there can be uncertainty about how to go about it. The conversation is top of mind for many who will be visiting with parents during the upcoming holiday season.
“It can be a very uncomfortable conversation,” Adair acknowledged. His advice? “Try to keep it light. Try to – I’m not going to say schedule it out – but try to break it up into smaller segments so it’s a little bit less intrusive on the older adult from that perspective. But do get an understanding as to what’s going on, maybe in smaller doses. Maybe you talk about at first just kind of highlighting some of the things that are going on in your own life and then subsequently venture into what’s going on with them and their financial issues.”
Adair explained the important takeaways you should have after having the conversation with your aging parents.
“We really want to have an understanding of the assets that our parents or older adults we’re connected with having. We want to know who their key contacts are and we want to know where some of these key documents are maintained, such as wills or health care proxies. Things like that are extremely important for us to accomplish during these conversations.”