To assist a parent with their money due to a sudden hospitalization, you need a list of online accounts and where this list is hidden.
The coronavirus crisis has triggered some shocking acknowledgments.
One is the realization by many active Baby Boomers that they are now categorized as ‘elderly.’
On top of being ‘elderly,’ they likely have some pesky condition – like high blood pressure – that can put them squarely in the highest-risk category should they contract the virus.
(And, if this acknowledgment is shocking to them, imagine to their adult children.)
Acknowledging the vulnerability
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Today they are between ages 56 and 74.
When authorities mention the populations at highest risk, we hear ‘over-60’ and ‘over-65.’
Whatever the cutoff, many in those definitions are our parents or grandparents.
And we’ve always thought of them as invincible, not vulnerable.
A difficult conversation
It’s hard for any two generations to discuss money. As innocent as the younger person’s intention may be, the older person may read it as ‘poking their nose where it doesn’t belong.’ Or questioning their ability to manage their affairs.
The desire to broach money now is even higher if the older person lives alone, whether it’s a widow who has taken the family financial reins without involving her grown children. Or a divorced man or woman who doesn’t have a significant other who is intimate enough to be sharing financial information.
So, where does the resistance come from? Sadly, out of the almost-taboo that our society has placed on the topic of inheritances. After all, why else would someone start asking questions about money?
But today, there’s a perfectly justifiable reason to do so.
The reason why
The recent pandemic has created a specific set of circumstances that make it logical to have a money conversation in advance, and it has nothing to do with inheritances.
The signature of coronavirus can be an unexpected, last-minute hospitalization.
Rent, internet, phone, cable, electric, gas and other bills are all online. Mortgages, home equity or car loans will have hardcopy support documents, but day-to-day transactions will be electronic. Same with insurances.
And if you don’t have access to someone’s account usernames and passwords, you’re locked out and can’t act as a bridge.
So, in the case of hospitalization, not only will your loved one have suffered the illness but could come back to the disruption and urgency of unpaid bills and (possibly) cut services. Take this as a wake-up call.
All you need to know
You don’t need to know the intricacies of your parent’s finances. If “that’s none of your business,” then it’s none of your business.
But to serve as a bridge, you do need to know two things:
- That your parent has prepared an ‘Online Accounts’ list. The list should have the account name, account number and online access of the following: (1) one bank account that is used to pay all periodic payments, whether automatically or manually, and (2) all companies that receive regular payments, whether monthly, quarterly or yearly.
- Where your parent hides that list – which is updated regularly.
In case you ever have to step in temporarily, you’ll be able to keep things up-to-date for when your parent returns from an unexpected stay away from home.
Do you think you could have that conversation?