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When parents don’t plan for the future, this can leave them unprepared and can bring difficulties to their children as well.

Statistics from Pew Research show that nearly 40% of adult children financially assist with the support of elderly parents. Often parents wait until they are retired or nearly retired to plan and to talk with their children about financial matters. This makes good planning harder.

Some parents take the initiative to talk with their children about their finances; others don’t. If you are the child or children that your parents would turn to if they needed help, then you should initiate that discussion in an appropriate way if they don’t. It is never too early. Such conversations can be started by talking about your own financial planning and asking how they handled theirs, or by asking them if they have been thinking about retirement or what they think they would do if they developed health problems.

You need to find out in an appropriate way if they have done planning to cover them in case of death or disability. You need to know if they have authorized someone to act in case of emergency and where their important papers are located. You should find out if they have wills and powers of attorney in place. It would be helpful to know if they have long term care insurance and what retirement income they have or can expect.

If they are reluctant to talk with you about these things or you feel that more planning is necessary, you could suggest talking with an elder law attorney.

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