Signs That You Need to Take Over the Reigns of Your Senior Loved Ones Finances
By James Hall ~
Managing one’s finances properly is a challenging task no matter your age but this can become even increasingly difficult as you age and you don’t have the financial freedom that you once had. For example, you may be witnessing a senior loved one grapple with the issue of their finances for whatever reason which might compel you to step in to help solve some of their financial woes. Here are some typical signs that you may need to take over the reins of their finances for their benefit.
An inability to keep up with their daily activities
If your elderly loved one is finding it difficult to keep up with their daily activities – chances are their finances are probably in a dire state especially because this is one area they might not naturally tend to first when they are just barely coping with ordinary activities in their day.
Bills are piled up and are unopened
If you notice that their mail is stacking up unopened, then this could very well be a telltale sign that things like utility bills, mortgage loan statements, and credit card bills are being left unattended. However, this could be due to factors beyond their control. So take care to address this topic with the utmost sensitivity as you go about collecting the information you need to oversee the payments of their outstanding bills timeously.
They mention not having enough money
If your loved one is bringing up the topic of money (or lack thereof) more often than not, then this could be yet another sign that their financial situation is bothering them. Therefore, take this opportunity to address any fears or concerns they may have concerning their finances and assure them that you are there to support and assist them wherever you can.
Incessant calls from creditors
Suppose you notice that calls are going unanswered and that these calls occur often on a day-by-day basis. Then it’s safe to assume that these could only be calls from creditors or service providers asking for payments concerning unpaid bills.
Money mismanagement could also point to financial troubles, especially if their behavior is out of the ordinary and they are splashing out on things that aren’t really necessary. On the opposite end of things, declined cards when making payments at the till could also illustrate the obvious. So be sure to keep a lookout for unusual spending patterns so that you can help put a stop to the matter of money mismanagement.
What you can do to help
In some cases, it may only be necessary to lend an ear to a loved one who needs someone to confide in regarding their financial woes. However, in more severe cases, you may be required to step in fully to tend to your loved one’s financial affairs. Here’s what to do if their financial situation is particularly worrisome.
Becoming their power of attorney: The only way you’ll have a legal right to manage their finances is by becoming their power of attorney. Ideally, this is a conversation you should have with them sooner rather than later.
Gaining access to their financial records: Of course, you’re going to need to have access to their financial records such as bank accounts, policies, etc, so that you can take over the management of these accounts eventually. Also, be sure to ask for all the relevant passwords and pin codes too.
Refinancing assets: Here, it is important to know when to refinance their home if you need to free up funds to cover any shortfalls here and there. Furthermore, this surplus of funds between the new loan amount and the previous loan amount could come in handy if you need extra funds to pay for aged-care facilities, for example.
Indeed, taking over your senior loved one’s finances when they are no longer able to should be seen as a privilege as you help them overcome the mental stumbling blocks that often prevent us from making the best decisions as we age.
James Hall is a retired nursing home administrator. Following his retirement, he wanted to find a way to continue helping seniors and to make the most of his own golden years. He created Senior Care Fitness to help seniors live their best lives.