Navigating the Financial Caregiver Journey: Best Practices for Effective Management and Support

A financial caregiver is an individual appointed to assist in managing one’s finances, particularly during times of illness or diminished capacity. This person ensures the timely payment of bills, monitors bank accounts, oversees investments, and files taxes as needed. Planning ahead and selecting a trustworthy individual for this role is crucial, as life circumstances can change with age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of older adults have a disability. At the same time, the Alzheimer’s Association states that one-third of seniors die from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. A financial caregiver can provide essential support in protecting one’s finances when self-management becomes difficult due to health decline or other factors.

Responsibilities of a Financial Caregiver

A financial caregiver may perform the following tasks:

  • Assist with day-to-day financial matters
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Monitor accounts to prevent financial exploitation, fraud, and identity theft
  • Identify eligible benefits and resources
  • Plan for future financial needs

While the relationship between the individual and the caregiver may evolve, it is important to remember that the individual retains control over their finances. The caregiver’s funds should always remain separate from the individual’s money.

Selecting a Financial Caregiver

When choosing a financial caregiver, selecting someone who can be trusted to follow through on one’s wishes is essential. Many people choose a family member or close friend, while others prefer professional money managers. The ideal candidate should be detail-oriented, punctual in meeting deadlines, and capable of communicating effectively with various parties, including financial professionals and family members. A suitable caregiver should also be in good health, reliable, and attentive to the individual’s needs.

It is inadvisable to appoint a financial caregiver who struggles with money management, has legal issues, or suffers from declining mental or physical health.

Tips for Financial Caregivers

  • Develop a comprehensive financial inventory: Collaborate with your loved one to gather, organize, and document crucial financial records, expenses, and other essential information required to manage their finances.
  • Exercise prudent money and asset management: Given that older adults frequently rely on fixed or limited incomes, it is vital to help them eliminate unnecessary expenses and budget effectively.
  • Maintain separate assets: Ensure your finances remain distinct from your loved one’s and always act in their best interests. Exploiting an older adult constitutes a crime with legal repercussions.
  • Identify potential risks: Seniors are often targeted for financial abuse and fraud. Remain vigilant for indications of abuse, scams, or identity theft that could jeopardize your loved one’s assets.
  • Maintain meticulous records: As a financial agent, proper documentation is essential. Keep well-organized financial records, including current lists of assets, debts, and a record of financial transactions.
  • Communicate consistently: The caregiving relationship is dynamic, with shifting needs and emerging challenges. Stay in regular contact to understand your loved one’s preferences.
  • Establish a formal arrangement: To maximize assistance, caregivers may need legal authority. Discuss options with your loved one, such as Power of Attorney, Social Security Administration representative payee, or trusteeship.
  • Consult professionals as needed: Seek advice from bankers, accountants, attorneys, and other experts when necessary.
  • Prioritize self-care: While attending to others, remember to care for yourself. Seek support groups and enlist the help of family members and friends.

As a financial caregiver, it is crucial to be well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to provide the best support for your loved one. Legacy’s extensive range of financial services is designed to empower you in fulfilling your role effectively. Our experienced professionals are committed to assisting you in making informed decisions, managing assets, and safeguarding your loved one’s financial future. By leveraging Legacy’s comprehensive suite of services, you can ensure a seamless and supportive caregiving experience, fostering financial stability and peace of mind for you and your loved one. Contact Legacy today to explore our tailored solutions and take the first step towards a successful financial caregiving journey.

If you are a Legacy client and have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Legacy advisor. If you are not a Legacy client and are interested in learning more about our approach to personalized wealth management, please contact us at 920.967.5020 or info@lptrust.com.

This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only.
It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

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