November 15, 2019 · Budget, Investment, Retirement
This is one of a series of upcoming posts covering important discussions involving money between family members. Over the course of our lives there are many conversations that children have with their parents that can be difficult for both of them, but are important, and these discussions often strongly affect their lives, both in the present and for the future. These discussions can cover a very broad range of topics, from choices in education and career to lifestyle choices, such as friends or moving to another state. We'll be talking here about those necessary financial discussions within the family, and providing some ideas on how to prepare for these talks and consider how their outcomes could meet the expectations for some—if not all—family members and friends.
One key conversation that sometimes is avoided until it is too late is talking about a parent's will. It’s extremely important that family members are aware of a parent's desires in the will and that they believe that the parent has carefully thought through who will manage the estate and how its assets will be distributed. The specifics of a will and how the estate is handled can be a cause of great disagreement within families and among family friends, and taking time to understand a parent's desires before the will is needed can help avoid negative emotions, arguments, and unpleasant actions both with heirs and with individuals that are not included in the will.
This is a sensitive topic that should be approached honestly and carefully. The goal is for the parent to be confident in their choices, while understanding that it can be useful to be presented with additional opinions that provide both valuable information and thoughtful opinions to consider.
Following are suggestions both for discussing this topic with a parent, along with important information to keep in mind, and possible actions to take before the will is needed:
Money may strongly affect how people think, feel and act. When money is involved in a family matter, it's important to have upfront, clear conversations, so all interested parties have the opportunity to present their points of view and feel that they have fully involved in the situation.