What If I Have to Manage My Parents’ Finances?


A concern many of us have is, “What if I have to manage my parents’ finances?” As children and parents both get older, this scenario becomes more and more likely.

Here is an example:

When Bob passed away, Mary (who was 82 and definitely slowing down) was suddenly for the first time in her life, responsible for all things financial.  She was not only unprepared, but would clearly need significant help to fill the void left by Bob in this area. Mary turned to her 56 year old son Steven, who had maintained a careful distance from his Dad when it came to personal finances.  All of a sudden, Steven had to help his mother get a hold on a number of financial issues ranging from how to pay the bills, getting bank accounts changed to how should the investments be handled?

To get started, the most pressing issue was: “Where is the world were all the papers, accounts, files, contracts and passwords?”

Steven and Mary tried to connect the dots on various conversations, go through papers, make calls to an investment person, an insurance person, a banker, and an old friend that had convinced Dad to make a loan on some business.  What was nagging at Steven and Mary was the fact that they were sure they were missing some things, but couldn’t be certain.

The whole process was very stressful for Mary and Steven and one they had both secretly dreaded.


This story raises a few issues that you and/or your parents need to consider

  • If something happens to my Dad, etc., how do we know where everything is, and who to call? To assist with this process, download a free copy of the “All in One Place- Financial Guide” and take a moment to fill it out with your parents. It allows easy track down of important documents, investments accounts, names of advisors, passwords etc.  This Guide can save immeasurable time, minimize stress and legal costs.
  • If something happens to my Dad, etc., is there a financial planner who is truly our ‘go to’ person, who we trust, and who has an overall picture of their financial world?
  • As we age, often our advisors (who we have known for years) are the same age as us.  Does it still make sense to have “Abe” as our parents’ financial advisor when he is also 70?
  • Somehow their financial lives got complicated along the way.  All of their good advice led to multiple accounts, a holding company, a trust, 2 properties.  Can it be simplified and co-ordinated?

If your parents are now 65 plus, it is a good time to have a discussion about their finances with them. It is always better to be prepared for the future, and have a comprehensive financial plan in order.

You might find this article about Tips for Managing your Parent’s Money helpful.