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Not Knowing About Your Parents Finances Could Hurt You – Part 1

My grandmother made the best French toast. I was blessed to have lived with her in my early years. My grandmother and grandfather lived downstairs from us in our two-story house in Astoria, Queens, New York (yes, that’s a picture of it to the left of the alleyway). After my grandfather passed away in the early 1970’s, my grandmother lived with us from then on. Those were different days back then. Families lived close to each other and it was certainly not unusual to have family members living together under one roof. Today families are often separated by long distances and it is much more common for us to want to live independently from our children.

However, as life expectancies are expanding we are more likely to suffer from some form of mental incapacitation making independent living impossible. Whether it is Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or any general form of dementia, the effects on the individual and the family can be devastating.

“We’re adding three months to life per calendar year,” said Salim Ismail, former innovation director at Yahoo and founding executive chairman of Singularity University

It can be very challenging for a family to be dealing with financial problems as they see their family member change in personality and mental ability. The potential financial problems in this situation include selecting and appointing a legal guardian, assessing what housing situation is best suited for them and determining the location and management of their assets.

How can these problems be avoided? Thoughtful and sensitive discussions before they become incapacitated may provide the answers. Most troublesome problems are relatively easy to solve, if you have thought about them ahead of time and developed a plan. In part two of this blog post, I’ll provide some guidelines to consider. In the meanwhile, I’m heading to IHOP for some French toast.

Click here for Part Two of this post: Not Knowing Your Parents Finances Could Hurt You – Part 2

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