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Posted January 27, 2010
This book outlines how to successfully manage your parents' money when they are unable to any longer and how to cope with the psychological side of the transition of becoming their caregiver. The text is written with sensitivity toward the subject because most people are uncomfortable even thinking about when or how to take over their parents' finances. I appreciated that the author really addressed how heartbreaking and stressful it can be. This guide includes great advice on very important necessities including living wills, medical expenses, funeral expenses and more. Giving real world examples and case studies, this book is easy to understand and gives detailed instructions as well as the rationale and legalities of the instructions.
This guide also contains numerous checklists and worksheets which really helped me understand the process. It also has an easy layout so you can easily use it as a reference. The author advises that adults have these important financial discussions well in advance to avoid a potentially stressful situation between family members. The book even delves into special situations and gives tips for saving money on the taxes involved. I think that this book will help a lot of people to move forward with confidence to have a plan in order for the family to have peace of mind for the future.
Posted January 16, 2010
As a large part of the population is beginning to experience, there is a genuine need for open conversations about this topic. I found this reference book to be highly useful in my own situation and trust that many will agree with me.
W.A. Swan focuses mainly on the effort and method of managing your parents' finances, but also covers care-giving with regards to health and end-of-life issues. The author gives a few different approaches to each tender subject and leaves the reader with much hope that this hurdle in life can be handled well. Areas like Medicaid, Power of Attorney and taxes are discussed in detail with many resources listed to assist the reader further. Worksheets printed at the end of the book are simple, but invaluable. The take-away benefits to reading ths guide are almost too many to list.
Case studies are sprinkled through the pages and also serve as an emotional support for the reader. There are many others wading through this challenging issue and it is helpful to read their stories and garner their advice. Sensitive topics such as elder abuse, surviving spouse issues and seniors in poverty are covered delicately but thoroughly. It felt as if the author was a trusted friend with professional expertise who was guiding the reader.
All in all, an excellent reference guide for people heading into or in the thick of parental care-giving. Also very helpful for the support team of such individuals, as it may give them insight into the challenges and difficulties of this stage of life.
Posted January 4, 2010
I think everyone whose parents are growing old has some trepidation about how they'll manage their finances, especially if they live in a precarious mental or physical state. Thankfully, W.A. Swan's The Complete Guide to Managing Your Parents' Finances When They Cannot: A Step-By-Step Plan To Protect Their Assets, Limit Taxes, and Ensure Their Wishes Are Fulfilled provides an extremely comprehensive guide to maintaining a stable financial status for your parents after they retire.
Swan's foreword provides some illuminating information about the unstable financial states of many within older generations (e.g. 46% of "Baby boomers" saved less than $50,000 for retirement). After that, he goes through each element of transferring ownership of financial procedures from your parents to you, and what you should do after that transference has occurred. Nearly every element you would anticipate dealing with gets addressed, from the absolute basics of dealing with your parents money, to medical bills, home equity loans, creating a daily budget, and even pursuing expensive options like Revocable and Irrevocable Trust accounts. Finally, Swan even provides a chapter detailing the best monetary methods in the unfortunate event your parent's life ends.
The book is not singularly focused on financial information, however. Granted, most of it relates to the financial side of the experience, because that's the main point, but Swan also reiterates the point that children are not the only ones experiencing difficulty. One aspect of what makes this entire experience so disheartening is that the child must search for warning signs that they must "intervene," and take control of the assets. Nearly every sign is a depressing one: a coma, loss of the family member who commonly managed the finances, etc., but also less-overt ones like "depression; memory loss; family members and friends passing away, leaving no support system." But he also maintains that intervention is necessary if readers wish their parents to keep living a healthy, both mental and physical, life.
He talks about the complications of discussing the transference with your parents in Chapter 2, "The Stress of Financial Caregiving" in Chapter 3, deciding how to give your parents their highest quality of life in their remaining years by letting them "live the way they want" in Chapter 6, considering where they should live in the subsequent chapter, and what to do in the unfortunate case that scams or abuse in chapters 10 and 11. This emphasis on the emotional aspect of this experience demonstrates Swan's dedication to making sure readers understand this situation is not based primarily on money, but love. That issue comes into its greatest light in the Case Studies, which provide human faces to all the legal, real estate, and financial issues discussed throughout the book. Rest-assured, however, that all of Swan's legal and financial lessons, methods, and facts are invaluable. Properly managing those elements allow love to be the most significant factor in the parents' remaining years.
Posted January 4, 2010
The book teaches the reader valuable lessons about a possible scenario that could change their life, as well as that of their parents. As the population of America ages, the lessons about managing the finances of the elderly will become more important to a greater number of people. Typically, a child of older parents is concerned that the parents are taken care of financially. This book instructs the reader how to take care of aging parents. The book presents a variety of useful sections, teaching the reader how to prepare for a care giving scenario. The book is honest and direct about how to approach important conversations, though it may be uncomfortable approaching someone whom has always been a caregiver to you.
The information in this book can be used to help a family in any stage of the aging process. Much of the information would be best used in the creation of a plan, in case the need arises. Having financial support can help the parent, especially when it comes to understanding the complicated rules of Medicaid and Social Security. W.A. Swan is writes from personal experience, so the author speaks with authority on the subject matter. The author brings forth many examples of expenses that a reader may not consider. The case studies presented give useful insight into the managing of your parents finances. Many sections of this book can be useful to a reader searching to successfully prepare for the aging of their parents although some sections are very specific to certain situations.
Companies are growing, fine print is becoming more complicated, and technology is causing the world to move faster. As the population ages, it will be important to make sure the elderly have people to help them be successful in financial planning. I recommend this book to any reader that may someday need to be a caregiver or a caretaker. Each party in the relationship can benefit from the book. In fact, it may be a good idea to use this book to start the conversation about your parents finances, especially if you are unsure about your parents receptiveness to getting help with their finances.