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Yes, 70 may be the new 50, and grandparents are redefining their roles by living more active and longer lives. More often than you might think, adult grandchildren are faced with helping their grandparents plan their golden years. Families are getting smaller and live so far away that your parents or siblings may not be available to take care of grandparents. In fact, your grandparents may be more open to sharing and working with an adult grandchild on their plans than with their own children. Consider these three key areas for subtle discussions with grandparents.
1. Independence. Many grandparents strongly prefer to live in their own homes as long as possible and do not want to move in with any of their children. You could gently encourage your grandparents to consider other options by taking “field trips” to visit independent care, assisted living, and nursing homes nearby. Take careful note of their preferences.
2. Healthcare. Find out if your grandparents have long-term care policies. Make sure each has a current Durable Powers of Attorney (with a backup!), Power of Healthcare decisions, Advance Directives for healthcare, living wills, possibly DNR orders (do not resuscitate) to share with doctors and medical facilities, and prepaid burial plans, plots, or other plans such as donating their bodies to medical research. A current list of medications is always handy for doctor visits as well as medical emergencies.
3. Financial Affairs. Make sure your grandparents have someone set up with financial power of attorney to handle bills when needed. Remember that the various powers of attorney can be split among people with different expertise. You can learn who your grandparents’ team is — CPA, investment advisor, estate planning attorney, and executors — without necessarily getting “into their business.” Asking for their recommendations for your own plans is a great conversation starter.
Make sure that their financial management is still good. Some studies found that financial literacy peaks in the late 40s or 50s and declines after 60. On the flip side, financial confidence increases up to age 85. Now that’s a potential problem! One adult son had to file for conservatorship when his 86-year-old dad started giving inordinate amounts of money to a caregiver of his invalid wife. You are truly blessed if you have grandparents, so take care of them!
Partner at Holliman & Holliman, PLLC
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