Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 12 freebies and deals for Tax Day 2018. Also in the news: 3 ways parents can help grown kids own a home, why your parents’ financial advice is probably wrong (for you), and what you should know about getting an advance on your tax refund.

12 Freebies and Deals for Tax Day 2018
A little something to ease the pain.

3 Ways Parents Can Help Grown Kids Own a Home
Ground rules are important.

Your Parents’ Financial Advice Is Probably Wrong (for You)
However well-intentioned.

Thinking about getting an advance on your tax refund? Here’s what you should know
Watch for hidden fees.

Q&A: The argument for having different caretakers for healthcare and financial decisions

Dear Liz: My mother is 74 and her health is starting to deteriorate. She had a last will made up about 15 years ago when my stepdad left her. I found out that she named me executor and gave me power of attorney for healthcare decisions. After the last year, when she became very contentious about giving me any information to do this (such as sharing her credit cards numbers), we have decided it would be better to assign these jobs to another sibling. There are also big differences in what each sibling is to receive. This will cause huge problems with two of the siblings.

I do not want to be a part of that as these two cannot even be civil to each other right now. I am afraid that my mother will not get around to changing her will. Am I legally obligated to fulfill this? It is causing me extreme anxiety as I am dealing with her decline in health as well.

Answer: No one is forced to become an executor. If your mother doesn’t name an alternate, the probate court can appoint someone to take the job — and it may not be the person your mother preferred. Let her know that if she wants to have a say in who settles her estate, she needs to change her will.

You’re smart not to want to oversee a situation that’s bound to get ugly. It’s not clear, though, why you thought you needed access to your mother’s credit cards while she was still alive. The job of executor, which would require settling her accounts, wouldn’t start until after she dies. Healthcare decisions typically don’t require access to credit cards — although she should also have named someone to make financial decisions for her if she’s incapacitated.

If you’re worried about your mother’s ability to handle her finances, now or in the future, you can start the discussion by mentioning how important it is to have a power of attorney for finances as well as one for healthcare decisions. It’s not uncommon to name different people for these roles, because the skill sets needed are not the same. Someone who’s “good with money” isn’t necessarily equipped to carry out someone’s end-of-life wishes, which may include fights with medical providers about which treatments will and won’t be pursued.

Once you’ve covered that ground, you can segue into talking about what she would like to happen if she starts having trouble keeping up with daily money management tasks. Many parents add a trusted child to their bank accounts so the child can monitor transactions and make sure bills are paid. Or your mother may prefer to hire a daily money manager (referrals are available from the American Assn. of Daily Money Managers at www.aadmm.com).

What’s a father worth?

candid image of father and son walking crowded streetAbout $23,000, according to this post from Insure. com:

Insure.com’s 2013 Father’s Day Index puts Dad’s household tasks at $23,344 a year, up from last year’s $20,248. The increase is largely due to higher mean hourly wages for drivers, teachers, coaches and plumbers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Moms will likely feel slighted this year. Although Mom’s 2013 value is higher than Dad’s at just under $60,000, mothers have been seeing their value drop every year.

These surveys have to be taken with a grain of salt. The ones that put Mom’s value in the six figures need a whole shaker, since they typically value Mom’s contributions as chauffeur, cook and event organizer at the same rates you’d pay a top-ranked professional–rather than the amount you’d pay a nanny or other caregiver to perform the same functions.

But still, they’re kind of fun to read, and they could remind you that life without Dad (or Mom) could be expensive, which is why you want life insurance if others are financially dependent on you.