Goin’ To The Bank (AP News #125)

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Hello
It’s Dr. Mikol.
To all our Jewish readers, I would like to wish you a Happy Rosh Hashanah and a Sweet and Healthy New Year.

While it may not be the New Year for all of our readers, this holiday should remind us of the universal calendar New Year and the goals we made last January 1st.

What goals have you accomplished?
What goals were pushed to the back burner?

Let this little note be your reminder of the long 3 months left ahead in this calendar year, leaving plenty of time to accomplish and exceed your business and perhaps some personal goals for 2010.

It’s time to get to work, my friend.

Now, in today’s issue my wife Carolyn is going to talk to you about something everyone should know about handling an aging parent’s money.

Hello, everyone.

Mikol and I just got back from a long visit with Alice, our own aging parent.
While we were there, Mikol was fixing up a few things around the house and brought up the fact that his name was not on her bank accounts, in case of emergency. Mom didn’t feel secure about that, so they then went to the banks where she had her accounts, and surprise!

Mom was not allowed to add her son to the accounts at that time.

Here was the issue…

She didn’t have a special legal form called a Durable Power of Attorney (or DPOA) naming Mikol as her agent. So when they got back to the house, all 3 of us sat down and went through her paperwork together. And we fixed this little problem immediately.

Mom got her new DPOA signed and notarized, and went back to the bank. Then the bank then let her add his name to the accounts.

Aaaah! A sigh of relief.
On the flight home, I got to thinking about how important the subject of money and aging parents really is. There have been so many people that have come to Mikol and I for consulting who knew they needed to get the money issue handled, but just didn’t know how.
Plus, so many parents just don’t make it easy.
So if you need to talk to Mom or Dad about money, especially if they are not the easy-type, here are 7 things that will help you do it right:

  1. Timing

    Some people are better and more alert in the morning. Others are more comfortable in the afternoon after the kinks are out and they’ve moved around for a while. For example, our mom is usually most comfortable and more receptive in the afternoon after she goes for her daily walk. Bring up the subject when your aging parent is most likely to be relaxed and receptive.

  2. Location

    A good idea is to meet them on their turf. If Mom or Dad lives in a comfortable place where there is privacy, and they are close enough, bring up the topic there. If not, pick a quiet place where your parent is likely to feel comfortable and familiar. Our mom is most comfortable talking in her own kitchen.

  3. Use A Special Occasion

    Add a day to the birthday or holiday visit, and set aside a special time to talk privately, away from others. I recommend you DO NOT bring it up at the celebration itself. We visited Mom for a holiday party, stayed an extra day, and talked to her then.

  4. Pick the right messenger

    If your aging parent has a favorite, or a most trusted or respected one on the family, that’s the one you need to broach the subject. That way, it’s less likely to feel like a threat. Mom likes to have Mikol be in charge of money, so he’s the one who brought it up.

  5. Be Understanding

    For our parents’ generation it was sometimes considered rude and disrespectful to ask questions about money. So it is very important to be sensitive to the connection they have to money, fear, and their sense of security and control. They may also be afraid of “being put in a home”, as so many aging persons are. Reassure him or her and proceed gently and respectfully.

  6. Explain your intention

    Help them understand that you want to help them, that you want to protect them from the consequences of something unexpected. Don’t be put off by a parent telling you that it’s not something you need to worry about. Deep down, it is probably just that your parent does not want to burden you.

  7. Stay grounded and keep your cool

    Even though money is a very important subject and something you must talk about with your mom or dad, it is still just one more thing that needs to be taken care of. So try to stay level headed. Even if our parents make a big deal about money, take a deep breath and keep your feet on the ground. By staying relaxed and positive about this, you can help everybody not losing sight of the most important thing of all – family!

We hope this offers some encouragement to those who have to deal with this often touchy subject. We’re with you.

If you need extra help and more detail about money, you can download my booklet How to Handle Money For Aging Love Ones right now here:

http://agingparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=358&Itemid=123

It will guide you even further with more tips and ideas about this whole money subject. We want you to feel confident when you approach your aging parent or loved one so that you can get your ducks and theirs in a row.

That’s all for now. Our best to you and yours.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mikol & Carolyn
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 September 2010 10:33 )

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