It’s time to have “the talk”.

finNo, not the birds and the bees. But this one may be just as uncomfortable for some people. We’re talking money. How much do you know about your parents’ finances? Important documents? Insurance policies? Now is the time to get organized so that you can be ready in the event of an emergency.

“It’s important for seniors to talk to adult children. They should know where documents are, funeral wishes, home deeds, banks, and insurance policies, at least,” says Lisa Rubin-Wallack, Director of Social Services at PPh. She handles a lot of these situations and says it can cause a lot of stress and financial problems when adult children know nothing about their parents finances. In extreme cases, families have to hire forensic accountants to help uncover finances.

You can start the conversation by asking your parents, ”if something happened to you, how would we know what to do?” Yes. It can be an uncomfortable situation for both sides. Be sensitive to privacy, but you have to be direct because its need-to-know information. If you don’t think your parents will feel comfortable divulging too much, Lisa suggests making an appointment with an Elder Care lawyer or financial adviser.

To get started, here’s a list to get organized we found in the January 2015 AARP Bulletin:

  • Inventory of assets and location
  • Names and contact info for doctors, accountant, insurance agent, financial adviser
  • List of passwords for computer, mobile devices, and accounts
  • List of medications
  • Advance directive (medical and durable powers of attorney and living will)

Make sure a trusted family member has access to them or copies.

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