Encouraging Your Parents to Discuss Their Financial Matters

November 22, 2010 Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Having an open conversation with your parents about their financial matters and the importance of estate planning is never an easy task. Medical studies have indicated that people who have lived through the Great Depression prefer to keep their financial affairs to themselves. This presents a challenging task for loved ones trying to discuss with their parents financial matters and particularly who is best equipped to handle their finances if they are unable or how they expect to pay for long-term care should the need arise.

The New York Times recently published an article entitled, “Talking with Depression-Era Parents About Money”. In this article, Tara Siegel Bernard, the author, suggests the different ways that adult children could broach the topic with their parents such as:

Show and Tell: “Adult children could talk about their own estate plans – a show and tell”. This forces the parent to give thought to their children’s estate plan and opens the door for the child to ask how the parents have handled their own affairs.

Parental Duty: “Appeal to their duties as parents.” 

Bring in a Pro: “Some parents may also feel more comfortable discussing their financial situation in front of a disinterested party, like a long time accountant, lawyer, or financial planner.” It appears that Ms. Bernard suggests having a disinterested party present could help the parent feel more secure, which likely would have the effect of the parent opening up about their financial matters. This sounds like a good idea; however, a word of caution, this suggestion also could lead to estate litigation, as arguments of undue influence could be advanced in the circumstances.

Timing: “Make sure you choose a good time and place to bring up the topic”. Obviously, having this sort of discussion at the family holiday party is not a good idea.  

Thank you for reading and have a good day.

Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.


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