People are taught to keep finances private. Your dad probably doesn't know your banking information and what bills you pay. He keeps his finances private, too. If you're not familiar with your dad's finances, you need to be. If anything happens to him, would you be able to step in and get bills paid on time?
That's just the first reason it's important to know how your parent's finances look. If cognitive skills begin to decline, financial management skills are one of the first things affected. Your dad could be struggling to manage his money. If he has late notices piling up, he stands to have his power cut off, his phone, or even have his home go into foreclosure.
There are stories of seniors who lost the ability to manage finances who stopped paying taxes and had IRS liens against them. Some lost homes to unpaid property taxes. While a discussion about finances can be uncomfortable, it's better than having your dad lose his home.
How to Approach the Situation
One thing needs to be made clear to your dad: if you help with his finances, it doesn't mean you're taking over. You're simply a second pair of eyes. You can see what he's paid. Check out what income has been deposited. Make sure nothing is overlooked. If he's ready to hand over everything, you can decide if it's something you want to do or if a CPA is the better option.
Be honest. Tell your dad you understand his need for privacy, but you also know how hard money management can be. If needed, blame changing tax laws. He won't feel like it's him you don't trust, so feelings aren't as likely to be hurt.
Set Up a Financial Power of Attorney
The final thing that should be completed is to designate a financial power of attorney. If something does happen with your dad and he can't pay his bills, someone needs to be able to. It's best to have that person designated by him rather than have the courts appoint someone. Your dad can visit an elder care lawyer to have the official paperwork drafted and signed.
If your dad is struggling with his bills, there are likely other things he struggles with. Is he keeping up with housework? How about laundry or shopping? Have an elder care agency send caregivers throughout the week to help him out. Talk to an elder care agency to find out pricing and options.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Wheat Ridge, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare West Denver. Call today: (720) 263-6060.