Ah, the holidays – a time for cozy sweaters, endless feasts, and quality time with family. But, amidst the laughter and joy, there’s room for some serious talks, too.
As you gather around the fireplace or sneak another slice of pie, consider broaching the subject of financial and estate planning, whether you are the adult child asking your parents or the parents lovingly providing this information to your kids. It might not be as thrilling as holiday gift exchanges, but trust us, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
So, pretend that Eric and Phil with Approach Retirement Advisors are joining you for your holiday dinner. Thanks for inviting us! The food looks great. Yes, we’ll have seconds.
We’re here to help you navigate some of the conversations you should have while you’re together.
Where in the World Are the Accounts?
Picture this: your parents are the keepers of the financial map, and you’re the adventurer looking for buried treasure – which is the last thing you want to be doing when you’re in the throes of grief. Take a laid-back approach and ask where they keep their financial accounts. Do they have a secret stash of passwords or a hidden spreadsheet? Knowing where the financial skeletons are hidden can save you a world of trouble if anything unexpected happens.
Do You Have a Safety Deposit Box?
Casually inquire if your parents have a safety deposit box and, if so, where it’s located (and where is the key). What does it contain? Important documents, family heirlooms, or perhaps the missing key to a time capsule? A quick chat can unveil valuable information and save you from playing detective in the future.
What Insurance Policies Do You Have?
Insurance – the safety net we often forget about until we need it. Do your parents have health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, or property insurance? Confirm that policies are up-to-date, and beneficiaries are listed correctly. It’s not about dwelling on worst-case scenarios; it’s about being prepared for whatever life may throw your way.
What Estate Planning Tasks Have You Completed?
Estate planning doesn’t have to be a gloomy affair. Approach the subject by asking if your parents have taken any steps in this direction. Have they written a will? Established a trust? Named beneficiaries? Don’t make it sound like you’re asking for your inheritance early; frame it as a responsible and caring discussion about their wishes and plans for the future.
What are Your Long-Term Care Wishes?
Let’s face it – no one likes to talk about getting older. But as the years roll by, it becomes a conversation worth having. Over a cup of hot cocoa, discuss your parents’ preferences for long-term care. Do they have any specific wishes regarding assisted living, in-home care, or potential medical decisions? Understanding their desires ensures you’re equipped to support them in the best way possible when the time comes.
Who’s Your Financial Advisor?
For many, navigating the financial landscape can be daunting. If your parents have a financial advisor, get to know them – even if it’s just by name. Understanding who guides their financial ship can prove invaluable if ever you need to step in. It’s not about prying; it’s about having a point person who can offer guidance when it’s needed most.
Do You Have a Power of Attorney?
Inquire about whether your parents have designated a power of attorney. This superhero steps in when decisions need to be made but they’re unable to make them. Discussing this ensures everyone is on the same page and avoids any last-minute scrambles if the unexpected occurs.
Do these conversations need to happen right as you’re dishing out the mashed potatoes? No. But setting time aside over the holidays to discuss these topics is something you’ll thank yourself for in the future. This is not about casting a shadow on the festivities; it’s about embracing the spirit of care, responsibility, and love. After all, the best gift you can give each other is the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re all on the same financial page.
Cheers to a season of warmth, love, and a touch of practicality!