Anyone can be faced with the need for a financial caregiver at any time. Financial caregivers play a valuable role in managing day-to-day finances as well as making long-term care decisions. It may feel overwhelming to think about the financial care of a loved one, but having a plan in place can make the process a bit easier for everyone involved.
What You Should Consider
First, you’ll need to determine who may need assistance. Is it a parent, a family member, or a friend? This may impact who needs to be involved in the planning process. If a parent needs a financial caregiver, you may need to involve siblings or other relatives in your plan. Next, determine what type of assistance is needed. Is the individual able to live on their own, or will they need to move in with you? If longer-term care is needed, you may need to review what caregiving facilities are available and what forms of assistance they offer.
Recognize what types of care you’ll be able to provide and what is outside your comfort zone. Be honest about your abilities as a caregiver and determine when you would need to ask for outside assistance. If you’re caring for a parent or family member, you may need to divide the responsibilities amongst siblings or family members to lessen the workload.
Keep in mind that being a financial caregiver may require having legal documentation to authorize you to perform certain duties. Please consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, to determine what is recommended for you to act as a financial caregiver.
What Steps You Should Take
You’ll want to collect necessary financial information to create an organized system and help determine what financial needs will be addressed by the financial caregiver. Gather bank statements, ownership records, healthcare information, and any legal documents, like wills or estate plans. Once you’ve collected the necessary documents, take time to review all the information together so you can get a better idea of where the individual stands financially and what plans they already have in place.
Determine if their current financial projections will provide enough to cover their eldercare needs in the future, or what can be done if there aren’t enough funds. Review all their insurance documents so you know what’s covered, and what isn’t, as you put together a plan for future care. You’ll want to consider if any legal documents need to be filed in advance, like a durable power of attorney. If you’re unsure of the next steps, you may need to consult a professional for guidance. Lawyers, doctors, caregiving specialists, and others may be able to guide you on what steps to consider.
Check their eligibility for any public assistance programs. Individuals over 65 may be eligible for Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, depending on their circumstances. Additionally, there may be benefits available at a local level if finances are tight, like food pantries.
Importance of Planning Ahead
By planning ahead, you can quickly and efficiently address any future situations that may arise. You’ll be able to accommodate the needs and wishes of your loved ones and take some of the decision-making off you as the caregiver. Being proactive can provide peace of mind for everyone involved, even if circumstances get stressful.
If you wait too long to create a plan, you may find that the individual in need of care is unable to express their wishes. It may force you into hasty decision-making if an urgent decision is needed. Keep in mind that becoming a financial caregiver can be an emotional process, especially when dealing with close family, so delaying your planning may cause unnecessary stress and disagreements between others.
Being a financial caregiver can take a toll, both emotionally and mentally. Don’t overlook your own needs as a caregiver. Take time to build a reliable network of support that you can depend on throughout the process. If tensions get high between family members, don’t hesitate to reach out to an impartial third party to assist in the decision-making process.
Create an area to keep important documents, phone numbers, and resources that are separate from your financial information. Keeping records organized will allow you to have easy access, and having them separate from your financial documents will avoid any confusion. In addition to staying organized, try to be transparent to show that your decisions are in the best interest of the individual. When writing checks, use the memo field to document what the check was for so you can refer to that information in the future.
In addition to planning for someone else’s care, you’ll want to make sure your finances are on track, too. For more financial tips for every stage of life, visit our WalletWorks page.