Talking to Your Loved Ones about Money
Discussions about money, financial assets, and future planning strategies can be tense, even among the closest family members. While the prevailing attitude may be that it is ‘none of my business’, the fact is that money matters among those closest to you can have a significant impact on you now and in the years to come. In terms of estate planning and asset protection strategies, it is generally better to be open, with everyone’s cards on the table. Whether you have adult children or aging parents, the following tips can help open the path to better communication and make these conversations easier.
Talking to Your Adult Children about Your Estate Plans
While it may be awkward talking to your children about estate matters, such as your will and your feelings concerning end-of-life plans, it is one of the most important conversations you can have. Kiplinger advises that rather than tiptoeing around the topic or keeping everyone in the dark, open, frank discussions are best. There are four basic issues that need to be addressed:
Future inheritance rights: Whether they stand to inherit a little or a lot, your children need to know that now so they can plan accordingly;
End-of-life issues: You should have a living will and advance health directives in place, but discussing these matters can help reassure family members and clarify your wishes.
Managing your affairs: Designating powers of attorney to someone you trust authorizes them to handle your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself. Let your children know who has these powers, and make sure they are aware of your goals.
Locating important documents: Having your financial affairs organized and the appropriate documents in place is important. Equally so is letting those closest to you know these documents exist and where they can be found.
Addressing Concerns With Aging Parents
In terms of difficult conversations, discussing issues related to aging is at the top of the list. In fact, PBS NewsHour reports that most adults would rather explain the ‘birds and the bees’ to their own children than confront their parents regarding end-of-life plans or the potential need for nursing home care. Unfortunately, not addressing future needs can come at a hefty cost. More than 50 percent of families end up paying for nursing home expenses out of pocket, which can cost an average of $10,000 a year or more. In bringing up the topic, it can help to do the following:
- Take time to prepare and list some of your specific concerns.
- Keep the conversation brief, asking two or three pertinent questions.
- Research some of the options available in your area.
- Aim for progress and open communication, rather than seeking to get everything resolved at once.
We Are Here to Help
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we know how important these conversations are but how difficult they can be. For professional legal guidance in addressing issues relevant to your family’s situation, contact our New York estate planning attorneys and request a consultation in our Bronx or Westchester office today.