Did I mention that my dad was a retired banker? It seems that my Dad’s generation did not like to have all their money in one account. Not even one bank. My dad does business with four financial institutions and each institution has multiple accounts. Did I mention that taking over the financial side of my parents’ affairs will drive you to drink?
I have managed to get my dad’s business down to three accounts. I know! Big deal! But it is a good start. I now run everything through one account at one bank. I may have to transfer money from one account to another but I only write checks and pay bills out of one account. I have selected Quicken as my bookkeeping system. Find a system that you like and use as much detail as possible. This will make tax time easier. I am hoping that 2016 will run smoother than 2015. We will see . . .
I pay bills at least twice a week and clear checks through their bank, Regions, twice a week as well. Be sure and keep careful track of all medical expenses. This has proven to be a HUGE tax deduction for my parents. I separate things as I pay them. For example, I have a file for all paid bills. I date when they are paid and actually mark them as paid. If there is a medical expense on a credit card, I highlight it and break it down on Quicken. If it is a deductible expense, it goes in a different folder. Same for medical and insurance.
Insurance!! This is very important. Talk to your parents about any insurance policies they may have and do not let them lapse. Some of my parents’ policies do not require additional payments to be made while others need to be paid annually. This is a good time to look into adding an Umbrella policy. These policies are pretty inexpensive and can protect your parents’ assets if there is an accident. This is especially good if they are still driving and maybe should not be . . .
I am an accountant by degree but have not completed a tax return in over 20 years. That is why I use an accountant. I have never traded stocks and bonds. That is why I use an investment manager. Find someone you trust and plan to spend a lot of time with them. It is important to keep the assets (if there are any) working for your parents.