The following article, by guest columnist Frank Bevenour, of Edward Jones in Rincon,appeared this week in the Effingham Herald, in the Savannah, Georgia area:

As an adult, you’re fortunate if you still
have your parents. However, as they get older, you may well have to
assist them in some key areas of their life. Specifically, they may
need you to get involved in some of their financial issues. And if you
do, you may need to focus on two areas: leaving a legacy and managing
finances during retirement.

While initiating these
conversations may not be easy for you, it is important, and you may
find your parents more willing to discuss these issues than you had
thought. In any case, if your parents haven’t already done so,
encourage them to work with an estate-planning professional to develop
the necessary legal documents, which may include wills, trusts and
financial durable powers of attorney. These documents and services can
be invaluable in helping individuals find efficient ways to pass assets
from one generation to the next. An estate-planning attorney can
identify which arrangements are the most appropriate for you and your
family.

In your discussions on leaving a legacy, you may also
want to bring up the topic of the beneficiary designations that may
appear on your parents’ life insurance contracts and qualified plans,
such as 401(k)s and IRAs. If the family picture has changed in recent
years, and your parents had intended to change these designations, they
should take action sooner rather than later.

While your
parents need to deal with the legacy issue, they still may have plenty
of years of living ahead of them — and they might need help managing
their money during these years. For starters, you may want to have a
discussion about their savings, investments, insurance and so on, and
where these assets are held. Are they kept in banks or investment
companies? Do your parents have safe-deposit boxes? This knowledge
could be valuable if you ever become involved in managing or
distributing your parents’ resources.

Also, you might want
to talk to your parents about the income sources they may be drawing
from during their retirement. For example, how much are they taking out
each year from their 401(k)s and IRAs? They don’t want to withdraw so
much that they deplete their accounts too soon, but at the same time,
they would no doubt like to maintain their standard of living in
retirement. You may want to suggest to your parents that they evaluate
their investment portfolio for both growth and income potential —
because they will need both elements during a long retirement.   

If
your parents aren’t already working with a financial advisor, you may
want to encourage them to do so. Managing an investment portfolio
during retirement is no easier than doing so during one’s working years
— and there’s less time to overcome mistakes. A qualified financial
advisor can help your parents choose the right mix of investments that
can help meet their needs.

During the course of your
lifetime, your parents have done a lot for you. You can help pay them
back by doing whatever you can to assist them in managing their
financial strategy.

SOURCE: Effingham Herald