Why is it so difficult for grown adults who are caring for elderly parents to talk to them about their finances or their final arrangements?
It can be an awkward and difficult discussion depending on the status of the relationship. Children who are already caring for elderly parents may find it easier to get the discussion started on these sensitive topics. Children who also are managing their elderly parents’ finances might find talking about final arrangements to be an easier conversation and a natural progression of their duties.
Regardless of the type of relationship, most children end up caring for their parents at some level. Children also will be left to make important decisions for their parents if they don’t talk to them ahead of time about finances, end-of-life preferences and burial plans.
So no matter how difficult or emotional the conversation, it is the one that should not be avoided.
Knowing their preferences with regard to a living will or healthcare directive is as important as pre-planning their burial arrangements.
Other considerations when managing finances for elderly parents include obtaining a power of attorney, access to bank accounts and investments and authorization form the Social Security Administration to serve as the representative payee.
Getting parents’ preferences in writing is highly recommended to prevent other family members from raising concerns about whether children are doing “the right thing” for their parents. A child who has cared for a parent or parents never wants to be second-guessed by other families after their death or told “that is not what their parents would have wanted.”