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Help discussing financial plans with parents
Old 09-17-2019, 10:31 AM   #1
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Help discussing financial plans with parents

I could use some advice on the topic of discussing financial matters with reluctant parents. I got done reading a thread on ER.ORG that contained many of the members well thought out plans for when they pass. The portion that got my attention the most was the discussions they have had with their children (of all ages) about what their wishes were and what they should do when that time comes.

My family has always been very conservative when it comes to discussing anything about money. It was a need to know situation and pretty much no one needed to know. This mentality was shared by my grandparents and their parents as well. They speak more with innuendos then actual direct conversations.

What prompted my question today is that recently my grandmother was moved to Hospice. During a conversation with my sister regarding planning in these situations she casually says, "Well Mom and Dad made you the Executor of their estate after you finished your MBA because they knew you had a knack for that sort of thing." They have never mentioned or discussed this with me and I obtained that degree over 5 years ago!!!

Is this normal for some families? If I approach them directly it will get awkward but I'm willing to do it. I could just leave it alone as well. That would be the path of least resistance. Anyway I look forward to any advice you have. Thanks
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upupandaway View Post
Is this normal for some families?
It's completely normal for many families.

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If I approach them directly it will get awkward but I'm willing to do it. I could just leave it alone as well. That would be the path of least resistance. Anyway I look forward to any advice you have. Thanks
You will only know their actual reaction by trying it. Use the hospice incident as an excuse for a conversation and see where it leads. "So, grandmother got moved to hospice..." and "Sister tells me that I'm the executor of your estate. Is that true? I hadn't heard that before!"

But remember, you cannot force your parents to talk about finances if they choose not to do so.

I have found that talking about my finances got my dad to open up about his. "My financial adviser told me..." and "I've been thinking about when to start collecting social security..."

Conversations tend to become less awkward, the more you talk.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:53 AM   #3
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Nope. My parents were exactly the same. Dad went back and forth among all 3 kids as executor, depending on which of us lived closest at the time. None of us was ever allowed to ask "how much do you have." This although we knew our parents loved and trusted us.

Frankly, we were surprised when Mom died and there actually was a small estate to administer. Although small, it was a royal pain to settle.

Now contrast this with going to an estate planner, where they require you to list every asset down to your gold-edged socks. Why on earth people can't do this with their kids is beyond me.

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My family has always been very conservative when it comes to discussing anything about money. It was a need to know situation and pretty much no one needed to know. This mentality was shared by my grandparents and their parents as well. They speak more with innuendos then actual direct conversations.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:27 AM   #4
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I would call it common rather than normal.

I was lucky, my dad was an accountant, so he loved talking finances and strategy. He actually gave me access to his accounts before he passed. My mom, on the other hand, was more secretive, more reticent to discuss anything, because of how she was raised.

Luckily, having seen the difference in dealing with the two estates, we're talking with our teen about our estate plan already. However, we've warned them that medical expenses or LTC could leave even us broke, and to plan for their future as if there will not be any inheritance.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
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I'm dealing not only with a reluctance to discuss, but when I pry something out of Mom it's often a down right fib that comes out.
Money is a touchy subject with anyone. Family included.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:39 PM   #6
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It makes me feel better that I'm not alone. I was in a pool with my Father only months before his retirement when he casually mentioned that he should really get around to looking at his retirement portfolio because he was pretty sure he was in 100% equities. My jaw dropped. This was my first big financial conversation WIN with him as I insisted he get in to see someone for advice as soon as possible. He did and he is now on track. I didn't get a thank you of course but I congratulated myself anyway.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:46 PM   #7
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Step #1: Find out where the will is kept.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:20 PM   #8
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It's not uncommon for families to avoid money talk. Given that pattern, pressing your parents for information beyond what they think is reasonable is likely to cause angst. I'd look to obtain the minimum information, such as the location of their wills, documentation, etc. Leave it up to them to tell you more than the min you need to be an executor.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:25 PM   #9
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At least find out if they have a lawyer, and how to get in touch with him/her. That is the only thing I remember my dad telling me.

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It's not uncommon for families to avoid money talk. Given that pattern, pressing your parents for information beyond what they think is reasonable is likely to cause angst. I'd look to obtain the minimum information, such as the location of their wills, documentation, etc. Leave it up to them to tell you more than the min you need to be an executor.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:52 PM   #10
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Some time ago, I sent both of my sons an e-mail. In it I explained that I had their names on all my accounts as TOD. I told them what institutions the accounts were in, but did not tell them how much.
I also told them jokingly that my mom lived to 102, so do not expect to see the inheritance any time soon.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:55 PM   #11
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This thread is very interesing to me. While my Dad was alive, he managed his own investments... he had a binder with his monthly statements neatly organized and show it to me occasionally... and I did their taxes.

After Dad passed, I took over Mom's finances as a favor to her... she has never asked anything about her investments... could care less.... I occasionally report to her what is going on or any transactions that should be done.

Interestingly, none of my siblings (who will be the eventual heirs) have ever asked either.

So in my Mom's case, no need for her to shre anything as I have it all at my fingertips.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:25 PM   #12
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My Mom put my sister as executor .She did talk about how much she had .She was too conservative so it was CD's only but she did have a glut of umbrella's .When she died I inherited a small amount and a few umbrellas.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:53 PM   #13
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Step #1: Find out where the will is kept.
Remember the beneficiary designations on all the accounts take precedence over the wills content (avoiding probate).

https://www.investopedia.com/article...gh-probate.asp
Quote:
Protecting Retirement Accounts from Probate
When a person dies, most of their assets are frozen until the will is validated, all debts paid, and beneficiaries of the will identified—aka the legal process of probate. That process can happen rapidly or at a frustrating crawl.

Retirement account assets, however, generally don't go through probate. (This includes IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and a number of less-common types of retirement accounts.) The reason: When someone opens a retirement account, part of the paperwork includes naming beneficiaries, either one or as many as the account holder likes.

When the account owner dies, the companies administering the accounts must hand over those assets to the beneficiaries. The contract serves as the will for these assets, avoiding probate. More good news: In this situation, creditors can’t get their hands on the accounts to collect debts.


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... In it I explained that I had their names on all my accounts as TOD.
Re: TOD -- Which just means you named them as the beneficiaries I guess?
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