Guide to Difficult Conversations for Parents

Money, aging, and end-of-life planning are topics most people put off having discussions about. As a parent, you don’t want to worry your children and they may even try to put a stop to talking about these things. However, having these uncomfortable conversations can often save loved ones a lot of stress during already difficult times.

You can tell your loved one that your Financial Planner recently brought up the topic and it reminded you to have a conversation

You can say/text/email something like:

My Financial Planner was just telling me a story about how he had a lot of struggles in managing his grandmother’s final wishes and estate. I know it’s not something any of us want to think about and hopefully we won’t have to for a long time, but it made me realize I could be more organized to lessen the burden on you when that time comes. Once I have everything prepared, I’d like to spend some time walking you through it. Again, don’t worry! I’m perfectly fine, but I think it’s easier to plan these things during good times.

This helpful document while lengthy, details just about everything you need to organize to ensure that loved ones won’t have unnecessary hurdles to overcome in the event of your death or disability. We also have a legal checklist that helps identify important items to review with your attorney.

If you can organize the bulk of this information before starting a conversation with your children or beneficiaries, all you’ll need to do is hand it over with a brief explanation of what it is and when it will be needed.

You can say/text/email something like:

Like I mentioned, I was thinking it would be smart for us to do more financial planning as a family. My advisor gave me this guide that details everything someone should organize, and I’ve completed it to make sure you have everything you’d need when the day comes. Let me know if you have any questions about it. Again, I’m perfectly fine so there’s nothing to worry about! I love you!

If you don’t have a formal will and living will, it is a good idea to create them. This eliminates difficult decision making and the possibility of loved ones struggling to execute your final wishes or get access to your assets.

You can say/text/email something like:

I’ve created a formal will to make sure nothing gets held up in court when the day comes and save you from having to make any difficult decisions on my behalf. Maybe you want to keep [attorneyname]’s contact information somewhere safe since he/she has a copy of it. [Provide attorney contact info]

Knowing where to start finding important information is probably the most common stumbling block for survivors. We recommend storing all important documents and passwords in one central location, and letting your loved ones know to start there should they need to access that information.

We’re also big advocates of password management tools since they keep your accounts more secure and make your life easier by creating varied, sophisticated passwords that you don’t have to memorize. If you utilize a password management tool, be sure to keep the master password with your other important documents.

Items to gather and secure:

  • Original version of your will (signed and witnessed)
  • Custody and care of children and pets
  • List of assets
  • Estate plans
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank and investment account details and passwords
  • Tax returns
  • Titles and deeds
  • Business ownership
  • Funeral instructions

You can say/text/email something like:

I’ve put all of our important documents and the master password to my password manager in [safe/safety deposit box/etc.] located at[location]. In the event you need this stuff, just start there and you should find everything you need.

If you’ve managed to do this planning, you should give yourself a pat on the back. It’s never easy to think about aging and end-of-life but by doing so, you’ve given a tremendous gift to your loved ones by easing the burdens on them during difficult times.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. WealthMD is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. 3550 Lenox Rd NE Suite 1100 Atlanta, GA 30326 (404) 926-1335