If your parents are in debt

Debt is a reality for more than 60 percent of Americans ages 65 and older, but you might not be aware whether that’s the case for your mom and dad. “Many parents are embarrassed and don’t want their children to know,” says Shirley Whitenack, an eldercare lawyer in Florham Park, New Jersey. If their in the hole when they die, their debt will likely not get passed to you, unless you’re a cosigner on their credit cards or mortgage. (The debt will be passed to the estate, however, and needs to be resolved before any inheritance is distributed.) If your parents need to lean on you financially in their later years, decide the best way to step in–maybe bills remain in their name but you pay them from your account, for instance. You should also try to understand their top money worries: “Let them know you want to help them live comfortably and avoid bankruptcy,” Whitenack says. Suggest they reach out to a nonprofit credit counseling agency for help creating a budget, says Bill Fay of Debt.org. You could also check the nationwide Eldercare Locator (eldercare.acl.gov) to find local organizations that assist with financial planning or estate documents.

Published by Zakieh Amer

I'm a housewife, and mother of a 6 year old dog. I don't have kids.

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