Having “The Talk” with Your Parents About Inheritance

Talking to your aging parents about inheritance and their finances is always going to be a sensitive issue that can be awkward to discuss. But it is a necessary discussion to have in order to ensure that your parents’ financial decisions are respected and that everything is carried out smoothly.

No one wants to appear pushy or greedy, especially when talking with your loved ones about their finances. If you absolutely need to know what your parents’ plans are regarding their final will and inheritance, it’s important to approach this conversation with sensitivity and understanding. Here are some helpful guidelines to follow when you plan on having the inheritance talk.

Choosing the Right Time

To begin, try not to bring up this topic during family gatherings and the holiday seasons; these times can be quite stressful for people and can put them in the wrong mindset for a talk about finances. Let your parents enjoy these gatherings rather than forcing them to pull out documents and files to have a serious discussion.

A quiet time when not much is happening is a good opportunity to discuss a serious topic like parents’ final will and the family’s inheritance. Since getting an accurate picture of your parents’ finances can be complex and time-consuming, this is a subject that may take multiple conversations over a period of weeks or months. You should end the conversation if your parents seem defensive and uncomfortable, never push them to keep talking if they don’t want to.

How to Start the Talk

You can start by sending an article about financial planning to your parents, which will help ease them into the conversation. Don’t make the discussion about you by blatantly asking about what you will receive. You should be asking about their plans and their financial decisions. Tell your parents that you don’t need to know about specific numbers, but that you simply want to ensure their wishes are followed out of love.

Another great way to start talking about this important topic is to let your parents know that you are doing your own estate planning. Show your parents that you want to make sure that there are no financial issues that arise when you are gone; from here, you can ask about their plans and if they have taken similar steps. Always approach this topic with respect and let them know that you are simply trying to figure things out and ensure everything will go the way they want.

What is Important to Know

The overall goal of these conversations should be to ensure that the wishes of your parents are carried out properly so their surviving family members don’t experience any problems. In order to be successful here, you need to know if your parents have key financial and legal documents on hand, and if not, where you can find them.

Documents like a final will, insurance policies, and power of attorney files are essential to help you get a firm grasp of what your parents’ plans are. If they have these papers and forms, it’s crucial to know where they are and how you can access them if the need arises.

You should also be prepared to help manage your parents’ finances if they are ever unable to due to health issues or when they have passed away. Ask for important information like account numbers well as contact information for their insurers, attorneys, and accountants. Remember, it’s always imperative to respect the wishes of your parents and never force them into giving you information that they are uncomfortable with disclosing.

Take a Look at Your Situation

If you’ve had past troubles with your own financial plans and spending habits, it’s understandable that your parents may be hesitant to talk with you. It could give off the impression that you just want to ask for money or that you only want to make sure you get a sizable inheritance.

Having past issues with money doesn’t mean you can’t have this talk with your parents, it just means that you need to prove that you are here for them and to make sure their wishes are looked after. Acknowledge that you have had issues in the past with money and put them at ease by reassuring that you are not talking with them to ask for money.

No Better Time Than the Present

Remember, you should be having this talk to make sure your parents are prepared with their affairs in order and respected. Make sure they know you are there form them and never give them a reason to think otherwise.

Finally, it’s vital that you do not wait to have this conversation. Anything can happen in life which means being prepared for the worst is crucial. The sooner you and your parents can sit down and get their affairs in order, the better off both your parents and family will be.

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