Let the Bank Do It?

Should you allow a large bank to help care for your elderly parents?

Baby Boomers are aging fast, their parents even more so if they’re still around. Caring for an elderly parent can be a big responsibility. Boomers might even be realizing the pitter-patter of their own quickening years.

Large banks are realizing this trend too. Some are betting on enriching their client base – and adding to their receivables while they’re at it – by providing financial elder-care services. Can a bank be effective at helping you care for the elders you cherish?

Sources such as the Wall Street Journal, in a recent article, assert that the larger banks have received positive initial reviews when it comes to such everyday necessities as sorting out medical bills, hiring in-home care, or perhaps administering the sale of a home. Flush with such successes, banks are beginning to delve into more in-depth services such as estate planning; establishing power of attorney subsequent to a crisis (the proverbial “break a leg” comes to mind, or more aptly a hip); health and home care assessments; selecting Medicare coverage and claims management – even scouting long-term living options like retirement communities and assisted living facilities.

Is rushing down to your nearest apparently elder-friendly bank getting you psyched? Advice might be similar as for riding a spirited steed when you’ve never sat in a saddle – Whoa! Treat a bank like you would any other attorney or professional advisor. While a horse might be guileless, a bank probably isn’t. By targeting the elderly population and their family caregivers, from a bank’s perspective seeing their asset management annual fees jingle out of their clients’ pockets might be reason enough for their foray into elder-care services –no matter how convenient their plans might sound.

Even if a particular bank does offer in-depth options worth trying when it comes to elders and their care and also financial legacies, careful investigation and research – as well as asking all the key questions – is essential before choosing any advocate for your beloved elder – be it a bank or otherwise. The person or institution to hire should truly know their stuff, especially the ins and outs of the law and the care-giving industry. A mere dabbler you don’t want. In fact, seeking out the advice of an Elder Law attorney before and not after you make a decision may help you choose the best bank – if that’s truly a direction you still want to go.

Gene Osofsky is an East Bay elder law attorney in California. Gene Osofsky specializes in Medi-Cal planning, wills, probate, trusts, nursing home issues, special needs planning, and disability planning. To learn more about elder law and The Law Offices of Osofsky & Osofsky, visit Lawyerforseniors.com.