When we grow older, sometimes we need help taking care of ourselves because of the ailments that we may be struggling with. These conditions might even affect our memory and cognition which will make it difficult to continue to do simple tasks such as managing our own money. If a loved one is struggling with their finances, then sometimes it is up to their loved ones to help them through these tasks. Although it may be uneasy at first, dealing with someone else’s money, we have some tips to help you manage your loved one’s finances.
Assess Loved One’s Financial Situation
Checking out your loved one’s financial situation is one of the first important steps when it comes to handling their money. When you investigate their financial situation, you will be gathering all their important paperwork and organizing it so you know what kind of situation you will be dealing with. This is an important step because you will need to know how much they have in the bank in order to pay all their bills. However, you will need to determine whether you have access to their finances to ensure that you can manage it without any problems. However, if you are currently the caregiver to your loved one then that will not be enough to grant you access to their information and you will have to contact a lawyer next to help you out in this situation.
Caring for our parents and other relatives as they get older can be tough, but when everything is handled correctly before they are unable to make decisions on their own then everything is smooth sailing from here on out. This step is important because your parents need to name you, or another loved one as their legal guardian aka their fiduciary. A fiduciary is chosen in case the loved one is unable to manage their money for various reasons such as dementia and so on.
Legal and Financial Advice
When you finally take over your loved one’s financial affairs, you will most likely need to contact a lawyer as stated above. The reason why is because your loved one is no longer able to manage their finances themselves and a lawyer can grant you access to take care of their finances. However, if your loved one does not have a lawyer if they do not have a power of attorney then you will have to find a lawyer to help you gain the power to take care of your loved one.
As mentioned above, paperwork is very important no matter what it is which is why we recommend getting your loved one’s paperwork all together and put it in a secure location. This is also important because it will allow you to look at their spending report so you know their spending patterns and it will also protect your loved one from fraud. Some of the paperwork will consist of:
- Bank Account Records
- Credit Card Statements
- Monthly Bill Statements
- Loans and Debts
- Social Security Benefit Statement Letter
- Social Security Statements
- Pension, Annuity, and 401k documents
- Tax returns from the last 3-7 years
- Insurance Policies
- Property Deeds
When you finally have access to your loved one’s banking account, you will need to set up automatic payments and deposits to make your life easier for both of you. No one likes having to pay late fees and other additional costs when they forget to pay for their bills on time which is why automatic payments can make everything easier for you. Not only will you not have to worry about being charged a fee for forgetting to pay for a bill, but it also allows you to pay closer attention to other important tasks that need to be handled.
Joint or Shared Account
Before you make a joint or a shared account while you are the legal representative, trustee or legal guardian then you will need to speak to an attorney about this before taking action. An attorney will be able to read over all the tedious documents and explain to you the drawbacks of having a joint or shared account together. This is important because if your loved one has any debt or ends up adding debt due to medical costs then you will also be financially responsible for this debt too. You will need to determine if you can handle any additional debt that comes your way before you sign any documents. The attorney will also go into whether adding an additional account in your name can affect you in other ways too which is why we recommend speaking to an attorney as soon as possible if you are considering doing this step.
Being the sole responsibility for a loved one’s finances can be tough which is why we have some tips to help you prepare for it in our latest blog post. Take a look at all of our useful information here to help you and your family today.