Before it’s too late you need to have a conversation with your parents about their end of life wishes and their financial situation. While it’s not the easiest topic to be discussing, it’s vital to making sure your family is prepared for this stage of life.
Ideally set aside a time to discuss the situation with your parents, ensuring that they have all their legal documents and contacts handy. During the conversation, the questions you want to ask and discuss are:
Question One: Do you have an enduring power of attorney?
This is a legal document that nominates a person/s to take care of their affairs if they are unable to decide for themselves. Ideally you should nominate at least two people. The process is as simple as completing a form, with the nominated people signing, your parents and then witnessed by a lawyer.
Once this form is complete you will be able to assist your parents with their financial affairs and personal decisions should the need arise. They can elect to have the same person/s look after both financial and personal decisions or select different people.
Question Two: What are your end of life wishes?
A living will is a document that outlines your parents’ end of life wishes. Also known as an advanced care directive, it outlines specifically what they would like to have happen to them and it’s important that the holder of their power of attorney is aware of this document. It can include decisions about things such as ventilators, feeding tubes, organ donation and how long they wish to be on life support for.
Question Three: Do you have a will?
A legal document used to outline what happens to your parents’ assets, possessions and bank accounts after they have passed away. Ensure you know how to access their will, that it’s current and they are happy with it. Disputes over wills are more common than many people realise, especially where children or siblings have been estranged;
Question Four: Do you have enough funds for aged care?
If your parents need to move into an aged care facility, it’s ideal to know what their financial situation is. This allows you to assess the situation and contact the government for support if required.
Question Five: Do you have a preference for an aged care facility?
If an aged care facility is in your parents’ future, it’s best to know now if they a preference of one facility over another. This allows them to be involved in the process now when they are able.
Questions Six: Do you have a financial advisor?
Unfortunately, there are lots of scammers and disreputable people who prey on the elderly. If your parents are using a financial planner or accountant, ensure they are a reputable. Not only will this make it easier to get in touch with these people in an emergency but you can ensure that they are being looked after correctly.
Question Seven: Who is on your medical team?
Ask them to list the names and contact details of all medical specialists they are seeing including their main GP. If they have to go to hospital or move to an aged care facility, having these details handy will make the process easier for you.
Question Eight: What medications are you currently on?
Ask your parents for a list of all their current medications and dosages. If required you can quickly notify hospital or aged care facility staff. This also provides you with an indication if they are managing their medications on their own.
Question Nine: Are you documents current and where are they located?
In order for this conversation to be effective, all these documents need to be accessible by multiple people and located in a safe place. Make sure that nominated members of your family know where to access these documents in an emergency.
Ensure that your parents are happy with the decisions they have made and that all documents reflect their wishes.
While these conversations are often difficult and emotional, they are essential to have. This ensures that you know how to deal with anything in an emergency and most importantly your parents’ wishes will be followed through on.
If you or your parents need assistance with your financial situation, The Farm Protectors are here to help. Please contact us today.