Address Financial Concerns

My father has always handled his own financial situation, but now that he’s losing some of his mental acuity, I need to get involved. However, I’ve never been privy to his finances, so I’m finding it difficult to broach the subject. What should I do?

Joan in Hawaii, 51

Your father’s financial situation can be a difficult issue to address. The very nature of the discussion calls his independence into question. But you have to address this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that problems will arise.

This can be an especially daunting task, so I have found that a straight forward approach works well. You must:

* Figure out your father’s assets

* Determine monthly income

* Add up all monthly expenses

You should then know if he has enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life. But let me emphasize that due to the complexity of some financial issues, I highly recommend you rely on the advice and expertise of a skilled professional to guide you. If possible, hire an accountant, an elder care lawyer, a financial advisor, and/or a tax expert.

How do you find these professionals? You may locate them via the Better Business Bureau, word of mouth, or better yet, someone who is connected to your family. Tackling this step alone could lead to legal snarls and become a drain on your energy and your checkbook. Professional expertise will save you many headaches and could ultimately lead to significant savings of your father’s finances.

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