When it comes to parent-child relationships, “the talk” isn’t only from mom and dad to their offspring, and it doesn’t only deal with the facts of life.
As noted in an article by Jane Bryant Quinn in the January AARP Bulletin, an important communication among family members involves financial matters.
“What should you tell your adult children about your money?” Quinn writes. “That’s a question all of us confront. Some people think it’s none of the children’s business. A few tell all. Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle, revealing some things and reserving others, depending on our own feelings about money and whether the facts might cause anyone distress.”
The author consulted members of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, who are all fee-only financial planners, and found, she writes, that they “lean strongly toward having ‘the talk.’ ”
“Start by telling the children where to find your will, health care directive, financial records and any life insurance policies,” Quinn advises. “If the will leaves them uneven shares, explain your decision. Often, the children will understand. If you can’t bring yourself to discuss their shares in person, at least leave a thoughtful, explanatory letter so that the siblings won’t start blaming each other for secretly currying your favor. Tell them, too, if one of your children has power of attorney or is the executor of your will.
“They should hear this from the parents,” Marc Roland of Dean Roland Russell Family Wealth Management in San Diego was quoted as saying. “If they learn only after your death, they might think that mom and dad loved one kid over another.”