Engaging Your Parents Regarding Their Finances

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What is their annual income? 

Your parents may receive income from a number of different sources such as: social security, pension funds, dividends from investments, retirement disbursements, disability, alimony, veterans benefits or public assistance. Work with your parents to understand their income as well as when the funds are received (monthly, quarterly, annually).

Where are they keeping their money? 

Are funds held at one or multiple financial institutions? Where are retirement funds held? What type of accounts do they have (checking, savings, CDs, money market)?  In addition to knowing where their assets are, you will also need specifics on all accounts – refer to #7.

Where do they keep their financial records?

You should know where your parents store important financial documents, especially in a time of need. Whether it be a safety deposit box, a filing cabinet in the home office, with their attorney, or in a safe, you should know where to find important documents when needed, as well as how to access them. 

What bills do they have? 

It’s important to be aware of your parent’s expenses so that you can continue on-time payments should they need assistance as they grow older or in the event of an emergency.

How are they currently paying their bills?

It’s important to understand how they receive and pay their bills. Are their bills mailed or emailed to them?  Do they send paper checks or do they pay bills online? Are any of payments automatically deducted from their checking account? Knowing how they currently receive and pay their bills position you to be prepared in a time of need.

Do they have a durable power of attorney for their finances? 

A durable power of attorney lets you make financial decisions on your parents’ behalf. With a durable power of attorney, they will still have access to their accounts, but so do you. If they do not have a durable power of attorney, consider contacting an estate planning attorney.  

Do they have an accountant, a financial planner, or elder law attorney? 

Be sure to know the names and contact information for all professionals who are working with your parents.   

Feel like you need additional guidance or individualized support?

Our team of Certified Senior Advisors® and Certified Dementia Practitioners® has helped hundreds of older adults and their families. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 617-227-1600 or email [email protected].

Dovetail Companies provides one point of contact for all services seniors may need when transitioning from their longtime home, minimizing stress and providing peace of mind to focus on the transition rather than the logistics. Dovetail Companies is the parent company to three subsidiary companies; Dovetail Support Services, Dovetail Financial and Dovetail Real Estate Group. For more information, visit or call 617-227-1600.

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