If your loved ones are getting up there in years, it makes sense to plan ahead for the possibility that one of them could become impaired in his or her thinking. About half of all persons in the U.S. who reach 85 years of age develop Alzheimer's Disease. Because the risk is so high and people are living longer, everyone needs to accept that we could become less than capable of managing our own money in the future.
It is not always obvious, especially at first. Is your elderly loved one having "memory" problems? If yes, what should you do, especially when it comes to financial matters?
A recent article in Forbes considered these question and others. The article, titled "Is Your Aging Loved One "Losing It"? Five Strategies to Help You Prepare For Managing the Money," also provides some practical pointers, to include:
- Learn about the assets and financial responsibilities you and your loved one have.
- Take time to get to know your loved one's financial advisor, accountant, broker and banker.
- Do not accept financial illiteracy.
- Accept the potential responsibility you may have one day as a way of protecting yourself against fraud and financial abuse.
- Check your legal documents and be sure that you have what is needed to take over financial management if that time comes.
Each of these points is important. However, I will add my own to the mix - don't ignore the issue.
While it can be hard admitting that a loved one is "losing it" cognitively, matters are made worse when their financial matters crash and burn, too. If you already are at that point, then it may be wise to have a family meeting to coordinate your plan of action together.
Even closer to home, take a good look in the mirror. Do you have your own estate planning in place so your loved ones could take care of your financial matters?