Your parents had to conjure up the strength to have “the talk” with you ….now it may be your turn to reciprocate. Talking with your parents about their financial future may be as hard as it was for them to have the “talk” with you. Avoiding this talk may result in unfortunate consequences.
Many of the boomer generation do not feel comfortable sharing the details of their financial lives with their children. They are a proud independent group so be sure to convey that the goal is to work with them to put their lives in order and secure their future. Tell them you are concerned that should a crisis arise, you would be completely lost as to how to help them. Convey that having a clear picture of their financial situation will better help you help them age with grace and dignity while respecting their wishes.
Here are some key topics to address during this discussion:
Important information – Life insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, tax returns, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, debts and expenses need to be filed where you can find them in the event of an emergency. Create a list of the names of their attorney, financial advisor, doctors, tax consultant, etc. If they bank on-line be sure to get log in information and pass codes. Also if they use social media or have digital assets, the pass codes should be given to a trusted individual.
Income and expenses – Offer to sit down with them and their financial advisor to determine whether their assets will allow them to sustain the lifestyle they are living or if there is a need for change to help secure their financial future.
Legal documentation – Do they have an estate plan, will, durable power of attorney, health care directive and living will? If not, there is no better time to work on these legal documents.
Healthcare – Do they have medical insurance besides Medicare and what is covered? Do they have long-term insurance? Do they have assets to pay for at home care should they need it? Who will be their health care power of attorney? Take the time to list their medicines and the doctors who prescribed them.
Letter of Instruction – A letter expressing their personal thoughts and wishes regarding the will, burial, etc. can be helpful to the executor of their request.
There are many topics that need to be discussed during “the talk” with your parents. Yes, it may be awkward, but it is important to have a plan in place, one that includes their desires, in the event they need your help. Don’t procrastinate another day — start the conversation today, you will be glad you did.
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