As a loved one gets older, you typically must take progressive steps to provide needed care. Many people focus intently on creating a safe environment at home and seeking in-home support until the loved one needs to be relocated to an assisted living facility. It may be easy to overlook finances at first, but this is an essential step to take in order to provide the best care possible for an elderly relative. If you are preparing to delve into your loved one’s finances, allow these steps to guide you.

Assemble Financial Documents and Records

Ask your relative to provide you with copies of all recent bank statements, investment account statements, Social Security statements, and even tax returns. To ensure that you have covered all of the bases, it may be helpful for you to collect all bills and statements that arrive in the mail for at least the next few months. Remember to check your loved one’s email as some bills or statements may be sent electronically. Some older relatives may have excellent cognition and may easily be able to provide this information to you. Otherwise, you may need to be proactive and diligent.

Prepare a Budget

Once you have all financial records in hand, you can prepare a budget. While doing so, you may ensure that your loved one has enough income to support his or her current expenses. As part of the budgeting process, review investment accounts and other assets. This may help you to determine if or when your loved one may run low on funds. Trimming expenses now may help you to conserve financial resources.

Automate Cashflow

You understandably may find it challenging to keep up with your own finances. To simplify financial management for your loved one, consider forwarding bills to your house or to your email account. In addition, set up automatic deposits for income, and create automatic bill payments through your relative’s bank account.

Seek Legal Assistance

You must also consider long-term financial planning and even estate planning. Request a consultation with a lawyer to obtain personalized guidance for your situation. The lawyer may also help you to establish a power-of-attorney if needed.

While there are many steps required to care for an elderly relative fully, financial management is essential. This will determine his or her lifestyle, housing options and more. Use these tips to get started, and make regular effort to stay on top of his or her finances.