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Every year, millions of Americans transfer their finances to their children or other family members because they reach a point at which they can no longer manage them alone. For those who are about to start managing the finances of their parents, it is important to know exactly how to protect their assets, manage their taxes, and live up to their wishes. This book has been written to do just that, providing a comprehensive walkthrough of what you can expect and how to ...
Every year, millions of Americans transfer their finances to their children or other family members because they reach a point at which they can no longer manage them alone. For those who are about to start managing the finances of their parents, it is important to know exactly how to protect their assets, manage their taxes, and live up to their wishes. This book has been written to do just that, providing a comprehensive walkthrough of what you can expect and how to successfully handle your parents finances.
To start, you must learn the basics of managing money that is not your own. You will be provided with a step-by-step chapter on how to keep track of funds, maintain the same accounting methods your parents have used for decades, and keep everything organized and separate from your own. You will learn how to evaluate sources of income including how to receive and manage Social Security, 401(k), and other retirement plans as payments are made. Additionally, you will learn how to balance their expenses, including a budgeting sheet to help you maintain the same level of expense they expect.
You will learn how to budget accordingly, depending on where your parents are living and what their medical expenses might be. A chapter on insurance and medical coverage is included to help you understand how much money you can expect to set aside for these expenses and how much should be covered by programs such as Medicaid. Learn how to maintain housing for your parents as well, whether they are in assisted living or staying with you. A guide on how to talk to your parents about fraud and keep them away from potentially dangerous opportunities will make it easier for you to keep a handle on their finances without taking away their freedom.
Dozens of men and women who have gone through this same situation, and also professional finance managers, have added their expertise to this book, providing firsthand accounts of how they were able to manage their own parents accounts and what you can expect. You will learn the difference in tax laws for the retired and what you will be required and not required to pay as a result of their age. It can be daunting when you first take control of your parents finances, but with this book in your hands, you should be able to quickly and efficiently take the reins and maintain the quality of life they have grown accustomed to.
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Chapter I Thinking AboutYour Parents' Finances 15
The Road Ahead 16
The Total Caregiver Role 18
Possible Issues 20
Your Parents' Benefits 21
Your Benefits 23
Managing Their Money - the Basics 27
Chapter 2 Discussing The Money Issues With Your Parents 29
Getting Ahead of the Money Problems 30
When Do You Need to Intervene? 37
How Involved Should You Get? 42
Concerning Stepparents and Partners 44
Chapter 3 The Stress Of Financial Caregiving 47
Long-Distance Caregiving 48
The Risk of Burnout and How to Avoid It 50
Stress Control 54
When to Call a Professional 55
Hiring a Professional 58
Chapter 4 Getting An Accurate View Of Parental Finances 59
Gathering the Information 59
Calculating Assets 63
Inventory of Personal Property 67
Calculating the Liabilities 68
Putting it All Together 70
Chapter 5 Talking Over-The Financial And Legal Procedures 73
Managing Your Parents' Money 74
The Legal Steps Needed 75
Managing Expenses 76
A Helping Hand 79
Joint Checking Accounts 80
Power of Attorney 81
Revocable Trust Accounts 91
Irrevocable Trust Accounts 93
Pure Trusts and Other Scams 94
Guardianships and Conservatorships 94
Privacy Protections and the Drawbacks 99
Chapter 6 Helping Your Paremts Live The Way They Want 103
Dreams and Plans for Your Parents' Remaining Years 104
Budgeting - Day-to-Day Living, Food, Utilities, and Personal Needs 106
What to do When There is Not Enough 113
About the Investments and Retirement Income 118
Investments with a Fixed Income 121
Taking the Money Out of Retirement 129
Chapter 7 Thinking About Where Your Parents Will Live 131
Living Safely at Home132
Home Equity Loans 134
Reverse Mortgages 135
Refinancing the Mortgage 138
Renting Out the Homestead 139
Selling in a Bad Market 141
When Parents Have to Move 142
Parents Who Plan on a New Home 143
Renting and Retirement 145
Mobile Homes 147
Moving in With You 147
Alternative Housing 148
Just Short of a Nursing Home 153
Chapter 8 Your Parents' Medical Bills 157
Power of Attorney and Health Care 157
Prescription Drugs 158
Chapter 9 Taxes 183
How to Access Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts 185
Capital Gains Tax 186
The Post-death Challenge 187
Common Tax Errors and Myths 190
Chapter 10 Scams, Undue Influence, And Abuse 193
The Faces of Fraud 194
When Your Parent is the Victim 200
Fight Back 201
Chapter 11 Issues Of Abuse 203
The Signs of Elder Abuse and What to Do 203
Financial Abuse 207
ASpecial Case: Abusive Parents 209
Chapter 12 Wills, Trusts, Executors, And Burials 211
End of Life Medical Decisions and Advance Directives 212
What to do When There is No Direction 217
Making Decisions 218
Your Parents' Funeral Plans 220
Estate Planning: Wills and Executors 222
Appendix A Worksheets 233
Assets and liabilities worksheet 233
Cash flow 240
Information you will need to know or find 249
A contact list for your parents 252
Appendix B Case Studies 261
Glossary Of Terms 273
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.