Will: A will is a document created by an individual that names an executor (the person who will manage the estate) and beneficiaries (those who will receive the estate at the time of the person's death).

Sit down with your parents to thoroughly discuss their finances, and plan exactly how to pay for the high costs of potential future care, such as hospital bills and fees for assisted living and nursing home facilities. Make sure you know where to find all of their financial documents (bills, bank and investment account statements, tax records, etc.) in case you ever need to access them.

Here are some financial issues to consider: 

  • Read and make sure you understand your parents’ health insurance policies. If you have any questions about what is and isn’t covered, ask.
  • If your parents don’t currently have health insurance, look for the highest level of affordable coverage right away.
  • If your parents are 65 or over, they qualify for Medicare. This insurance can be supplemented with a “Medigap” policy available through a private insurer, such as AARP. Many states also have prescription assistance/reimbursement programs for low-income senior citizens.
  • If your parents cannot get health insurance and their income is low, they may qualify for Medicaid, a government “safety net” program that pays for medical costs that exceed a person’s ability to pay.
  • Consider long-term care insurance. Realize that long-term care at an assisted living or nursing home facility is often extremely expensive, and not covered by any other type of insurance. 
  • Check out disability insurance. If your parents are employed, have them check to see if their employers have private disability insurance. If they are not employed and become disabled, consider applying for either Social Security or a state-run disability program.