Talking with Your Aging Parents about Finances

If you grew up in a household where money wasn't discussed, this can be a difficult conversation to initiate. But it is an important one to have while your parents are able to give you an accurate picture of their finances.

A few suggested questions to help you get the conversation started would be:

  1. Do they have a safe or a fireproof box where they keep important financial documents? You will need to know where it is and where any keys or codes are kept.
  2. Ask them to review their monthly budget with you. You will need to be able to pay their bills in the event they are hospitalized and can't do it on their own. Be sure you know what both their income and their expenses are.
  3. Make sure you know who (if anyone) helps them with financial or estate planning. How can you get in touch with those people if you need to contact them on a parent's behalf?
  4. Do they have a durable power of attorney for finances and who have they designated to act as their agent?

Knowing the answers to these basic questions will help you be prepared in the event of an emergency. It will also give you an idea of how much your parent might be able to spend if they need to make a move to a senior living community.