Not all parents speak to their adult children about their family’s estate plans. If this information comes out after the death of your parents, you as their child may feel limited in what you truly know about your parents’ wishes.
Asking difficult financial questions of your aging parents can feel overwhelming, but gently probing in the right areas can help important information surface. To start these estate planning discussions, consider the following.
1. Help them compile their trusted contacts
Your parents likely already have an idea of who they trust to take care of their affairs. Record names and contact information for people such as your parents’ insurance agent, estate planning attorney, physicians, tax preparer and financial advisor.
2. Ask them about closing certain accounts
Talk to your parents about where they keep their assets. If your parents no longer want to keep certain money or property at a certain institution, you can help them with the transfer paperwork. Managing their assets now and closing what is no longer needed can alleviate the future job of their estate’s executors.
3. Make an inventory of their beneficiaries.
Your parents likely hold accounts that include named beneficiaries. Create a list of these individuals. For any accounts that do not have any named beneficiaries, help your parents choose. If they have difficulty identifying who the beneficiaries are on individually owned assets like bank or investment accounts, look for POD or TOD on the account statements to find the names.
Overall, planning and organizing your parent’s accounts and financial matters may help them as they navigate the estate planning process.