What Issues Should I Consider For My Aging Parents?

Becoming a caregiver for your aging parents can be a drain emotionally and can carry financial ramifications both for parents and for the caregiver children. Helping your clients understand and manage the financial issues involved can help make the situation a bit easier for them.  

In this checklist, we cover a number of financial issues that your clients need to consider when faced with helping and potentially caring for aging parents, including:

  • Be sure your clients examine their parent’s finances to determine if they are able to manage their own expenses. There may be sources of income available to their parents that the parents are unaware of.
  • It’s important to remind your clients to be sure they have access to their parents’ important documents such as any estate planning documents. They should have the names and contact information for any advisors their parents use such as an attorney, financial advisor or accountant. 
  • If the client’s parents need long-term care, they will need to investigate ways to cover the cost. Medicaid planning or a reverse mortgage might be alternatives.
  • If their parent’s estate is over a certain amount, then they may have an estate tax issue. It’s also important for your client to ensure that their parent’s beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans are up to date and that they reflect their wishes.
  • It’s important for your clients to ensure that their parents’ tax situation is in order including any capital gains or losses, as well as fully utilizing any deductible medical expenses. 
  • Overall, it’s important to stress to your clients that they will need to ensure they have a handle on all of their parent’s assets, liabilities and all related financial issues as a time may come when their parents are unable to help with these efforts.

This is a comprehensive checklist of the types of financial issues that advisors should be discussing with their clients who are dealing with aging parents.

Updated for 2020 (Including The SECURE Act)