When you were a kid, your parents dreaded the talk they had to have with you. You know the one. Well, now that you are an adult, there’s a talk you need to have with your parents that is likely to be just as squirm-worthy – which is why so many of us put it off. It’s about money. Specifically, your parent’s money. The money that may become yours one day. Or may not.
Whether you or your parents think it’s none of your business, it is. You are most likely the one(s) who will need to deal with all the financial issues your parents leave behind when they become incapacitated or after they die. Not knowing anything about their finances will place you at an immediate disadvantage, making what will be a hard job almost impossible.
So how do you get the conversation started? Here are some tips from a recent New York Times article on the subject:
You need to know more than where to find the will.
You need to know if parents have executed powers of attorney, advance health care directives or a trust as well.
You need to know if they have life insurance or other assets and, if so, where the policy is located.
You need to know if they keep a list of all their debts and, if they bank and pay bills online, you need their log-in information for each account.
Your parents may feel more comfortable discussing financial issues with their attorney or financial planner present to facilitate the conversation. They may also feel more comfortable talking with all their children at once, or to only one – take family dynamics into consideration. The best time to bring Pierchoski Estate Law into this conversation is at the very beginning. Our job is to make sure that whatever you and your parents decide, it is a plan that will protect their assets and their plans for how they want their estate to be handled.
We know that you will need immediate access to cash in order to pay expenses related to a parent’s care or their funera. Since probate can be a lengthy process, you may want to plan for this eventuality by having parents establish a revocable living trust, which allows assets to pass outside probate.
Document Storage. Be sure your parents do NOT store their important documents in a bank safe deposit box because getting at them could require you to obtain a court order. Use a strongbox or safe that is kept in the home instead. Or make sure you are a signer (and there are back-ups besides you) on the safe deposit box.
To learn more make your appointment with Pierchoski Estate Law. Call 931-363.7222.