CAPE TOWN – Juggling the financial responsibilities of caring for a much-loved parent, your own needs can fall by the wayside and with the Covid-19 pandemic one would like to keep home and protect their parents as much as they can.
Here are ten tips to help guide you in taking care of your parents’ finances compiled by online financial adviser, JustMoney.
Plan ahead: Get a clear idea of your parents’ financial needs, assets, and wishes. Should their state of affairs be worse than you thought, bringing the situation into the open can actually be a relief for your parents.
Selling a home: With the Covid-19 pandemic, most have taken to moving their parents to live with them and with the current economic ratings selling or downsizing the home may also be considered. Arming yourself with the facts, do your homework on a suitable asking price and the various costs involved.
Update a will: Check that your parents have a will and that it still fulfils their wishes. Inform yourself about why it is important to update a will.
Living will: Many people have strong opinions about not being kept alive by artificial means, while still being kept pain-free when there is no chance of recovery. This can be addressed through a living will. A person must be 18 years or older and ‘compos mentis’ (having full control of their mind) when making such a declaration.
Power of attorney: It can be very useful when, for example, your mom or dad is too frail to sign documents. Power of attorney is no longer valid if your parent is no longer ‘compos mentis’. In such a case, you can apply to be the administrator or curator of their affairs.
Health costs: Read the fine print of your parent’s medical aid scheme and ascertain what it covers. You may decide to upgrade to a different package at the year-end to better suit their needs.
Ask for help: Find out about government, provincial, community and non-profit organisation services. Senior citizens who are registered owners of residential properties can qualify for reduced property rates, depending on the gross monthly household income.
SASSA: Your parent could qualify for a state old-age pension, provided that they pass the means test of the South African Social Security Agency. Currently, senior citizens receive R1780/month, or R1800/month if they are older than 75 years ‒ plus R250/month for six months from May 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Virtual fraud: We have all become more tech-savvy during the lockdown, and this includes grandparents who want to maintain contact with their children and grandchildren. However, they could be easy targets for online con artists. Discuss some of the most common scams and the importance of not opening attachments or clicking links on unknown emails, as well as keeping user names and passwords secret.
Avoid debt: While caring for your parents, do your best to not run up more expenses than you can afford, for example on your credit card. Continue contributing to your own retirement, even if it is a small amount every month.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor