Should You Allow Caregivers to Handle Your Parent’s Finances?
At some point, adult children of aging parents must make decisions regarding the ongoing welfare of their parents. Even if both are in good health, it’s important to start making financial decisions to ensure they stay protected. One of those decisions may be to have someone take over the task of handling day-to-day finances, such as bill paying. Does it make sense to allow family caregivers to handle your parent’s finances?
Deciding when it’s time to take over finances
As we age, dementia and other memory-related issues may arise. Most often, these issues develop slowly and may not be noticeable to family members until bills go unpaid, utilities are shut off, or when a senior is somehow scammed by one of the many senior-targeted scams out there. When seniors struggle with cognitive issues as they get older, bill paying accuracy and timeliness can suffer. If parents are otherwise healthy, and it’s the desire of all included to help them age in place for as long as possible, finding resources to handle activities like bill paying can be a good solution. Seniors may also voice concerns over money management issues and may inquire about getting assistance from a loved one, especially if there is a family member already acting as a caregiver for things like grocery shopping and other activities. That’s when you need to decide who should take over these responsibilities.
Reasons why family caregivers could help with bill paying
In most cases, there’s already a level of trust when the caregiver is a family member. They’re also typically more familiar with their parent’s normal bills such as utilities, rent or mortgage, etc. While your loved one is still able to do things like write checks and use an ATM, discuss adding a trusted family member to their bank account. That person can step in as a money manager to pay bills, make deposits and withdrawals, and monitor the balance of accounts to make sure your loved one is not being financially exploited. It’s a fairly straightforward process assuming there is a family member willing to take on that responsibility.
Reasons why a family caregiver should not help with bill paying
There are several reasons why caregivers may not be the best choice to help with a senior’s bill paying needs. Most adult children of aging parents already have busy lives; careers, kids, etc. can mean adding the additional responsibility of bill paying can cause a stressful family situation. If multiple siblings are involved, the friction of one sibling having control over the parent’s finances without the others having oversight can also be an issue. And, unfortunately, the most troubling situation is when there are allegations that one child is stealing from an elderly parent. Without formal oversight, this is a sad but true reality.
The best of both worlds: a professional bill paying service
One of the reasons that professional bill paying services like Bill Simplicity are becoming more popular and in demand is that it checks all the boxes when it comes to the finances of aging parents. A professional bill management company offers the convenience and security of having someone handle all aspects of bill payment, and also gives the added peace of mind of allowing trusted family members oversight to see what bill payment activity is being done each month. No one sibling carries the burden of bill paying activities, and there’s no risk of a less than ethical sibling taking advantage of the situation. Any or all adult children of aging parents, or any trusted family member or friend, can have complete oversight to activities at any time. The best of both worlds!
If your family is facing financial decisions regarding elderly adults, consider the benefits of a professional bill paying service versus family caregivers to help parents age in place while keeping their finances protected.