Holidays are about family … celebrating a joyous time of year with your loved ones.  But it can also be a stressful time of year when you notice that mom and dad aren’t doing as well as you thought, and important decisions come into play about where they should live, who should take care of them, and who will pay for it. It also gets you thinking about your own future, who will take care of you and who will pay for that.  People plan for retirement but they don’t plan for growing old.

From, here are “Ten Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help Handling Money”.  Look for them on your next visit:

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1.  You find late notices from a utility company, cable TV, or other monthly recurring bill in your parents’ home.

2.  Your aging parent repeats himself or herself in speaking to you, telling you the same thing or asking the same thing over and over in a single conversation.

3.  Your aging parent shows signs of unusual paranoia, suspicion, or mistrust of something or someone he/she has always trusted.  (It could be you!)

4.  You aging parent has a new “friend” who is hanging around a lot, and seems to pressure your parent into doing things he/she would not normally do, including writing checks.

5.  Your parent is not well groomed as she has always been. You see dirty clothing, unkempt hair, or other clues that she has forgotten to take care of herself.

6.  Your parent is suddenly very interested in contests, sweepstakes, and other “get rich quick” offerings and has been giving out personal information and his phone number to enter them.

7.  There is a change in your parent’s giving habits for charitable organizations, which have resulted in large, unusual contributions, out of the norm for your parent.

8.  Your parent is recently widowed, and has never handled the family finances before.  She is avoiding the subject of money.

9.  Your aging parent is socially isolated, due to losses, by geography or by choice.  There is little activity outside the home and he seems lonely.

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10.  Your aging parent has always been proud, stubborn and secretive about money.  Even though he’s having trouble keeping track of his bills, he strongly resists asking for your help.

The next step is to have short, informal conversations with your family members and aging parents to explore what their concerns are, and what topics to discuss with a financial adviser or elder law attorney.  Below are some things to consider and questions to ask:

1. Do they have any estate planning documents? Where are they located? When was the last time they were reviewed? Estate planning documents should be reviewed bi-annually.

2. Are the seniors in your family prepared in case they or their spouse need long-term care? At $10,000 per month, long-term care costs can devastate a family’s resources.

3. Has a healthcare proxy and durable power of attorney been named for each senior? This can be extremely important should an emergency require a family member to make important health and financial decisions for another.

4. If you have an estate plan, is it set up to maximize benefits and reduce or eliminate liabilities for your family? Avoiding the time and cost of probate, reducing or eliminating estate taxes, and ensuring a swift and orderly distribution to heirs can all be accomplished with an effective estate plan.

5. Dreading the conversation? What if family members disagree about next steps? Or maybe they don’t think anything needs to be done?  You could also invite a financial advisor or elder law attorney into the conversation to help mediate conflicting ideas.

The bottom line is – as difficult as it may seem, starting the conversation before a crisis will help everyone in the long run.

Steven Yager, Director of Yager & Associates … a comprehensive retirement and estate planning firm in Northville… has created a truly different all inclusive approach to retirement and estate planning.  With over 30 years of industry service, Yager, a highly conscientious, detail minded and thorough professional, has built an excellent reputation for placing a client’s needs first.   He directs a team of experts that takes into consideration all aspects of a client’s goals and their family’s needs … affording the comfort and security of knowing what the client wants for THEIR future and THEIR Family’s future will happen.   Yager & Associates is an association of Retirement Planners, Attorneys, Accountants, Insurance Advisors, Trust Officers, Realtors, and Mortgage Professionals prepared to help clients create a stronger financial foundation for their retirement and that of their descendants.  If you are looking for a comprehensive retirement and estate planning professional…a firm prepared to assist you in creating a stronger financial foundation for you, your parents and your children, contact

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