It’s Time for the Money Talk
As a nation, we’re a tight-lipped bunch when it comes to our money. Talking about how much we have and what we do with it is considered to be a major faux pas in most circles.
It’s time to start talking…at least to the people who need to know. Direct conversation with your adult children or executor of your estate about your financial picture can not only provide them with crucial information later, but it can also ensure that your wishes are heard, acknowledged and carried out.
If at all possible, it’s crucial to have these conversations before they’re needed. It’s also important to include all stakeholders in the discussion, not just the person(s) you’ve designated to handle your affairs after you’re gone.
Your conversation should answer these questions for your loved ones:
Who do you want handling your finances?
If you have multiple adult children, appoint one to act as point person. Engage all of the family members in the choice or explain your reasons for your choice to everyone involved to soothe hurt feelings.
What do you want for your later years?
Your goals for retirement might be to live in your house as long as you can, or maybe downsize to a smaller home in two years. Communicate these wishes to your family. It can assist them in making decisions about your care later one, if needed.
What accounts or policies do you have?
Life insurance, long-term care policies, retirement accounts, checking accounts…your designees should know what kind of accounts you have. They should also know who to contact about the accounts in your absence.
Have you made any arrangements for burial services?
If you have purchased pre-paid funeral services, provide the name of the funeral home to your loved ones, as well as any available paperwork.
Do you have a power of attorney or a will?
Your designees should know who has power of attorney for you, if you have one in place. They should also be informed if you have a will and where it’s located, or who they can contact about it.
Who is getting your money?
You don’t have to designate how much, but this is an especially important point if you’re planning on giving money after your death to someone outside your family. Setting inheritance expectations now can help reduce potential family conflict after you’re gone.