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Thread: Talking finances with older parents

  1. #21
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal-one View Post
    I am reluctant to talk to DS about money. He is the only heir and think he would not work as hard now if he thought he was going to get a wad when we die. We live very frugally so he really is unsure about our situation. I guess I would prefer if he were more motivated to do things on his own. As it is, all may go to a nursing home... who knows?
    If you've never had the money talk with your son, it is awkward to do it now, I guess.

    But you should still do it, I think. In a void of information he will make up something, even if it's not something he thinks about often.

    I like the way my parents handled this issue. I don't even remember the first time they talked about their money and their death, but somewhere in my late teens they started to talk about their plans. They said that our "inheritance" is our educationand we shouldn't expect anything more. And that was fine with me because who at that age thinks about their parents dying?

    then, over the years, they pointed out instances where friends or family were handling estates badly, using those events as object lessons.

    then, as they got older, they were very clear to point out that money goes quickly if one of them goes to a nursing home. My grandmother was in a nursing home for a few years.

    Then, near the end of her life and before dementia set in, my mother set up an appointment with her financial guy and me and my brother so that we could know about her assets. They weren't huge, a few hundred thousand dollars.

    And near the end of her life she spent freely and then lived in a nursing home for a few years, so about half of assets were gone upon her death. The remaining assets were ours because our names were on the financial instruments as owners.

    we didn't expect anything, but ended up with a nice little amount. It was a windfall, not something we expected for most of those years.

    the point here is that sharing your financial philosophy and plan is good. Open communication about Finances is a good thing.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 6-16-15 at 11:53am.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    If you've never had the money talk with your son, it is awkward to do it now, I guess.

    But you should still do it, I think. In a void of information he will make up something, even if it's not something he thinks about often.

    I like the way my parents handled this issue. I don't even remember the first time they talked about their money and their death, but somewhere in my late teens they started to talk about their plans. They said that our "inheritance" is our educationand we shouldn't expect anything more. And that was fine with me because who at that age thinks about their parents dying?

    then, over the years, they pointed out instances where friends or family were handling estates badly, using those events as object lessons.

    then, as they got older, they were very clear to point out that money goes quickly if one of them goes to a nursing home. My grandmother was in a nursing home for a few years.

    Then, near the end of her life and before dementia set in, my mother set up an appointment with her financial guy and me and my brother so that we could know about her assets. They weren't huge, a few hundred thousand dollars.

    And near the end of her lie she spent freely and then lived in a nursing home for a few years, so about half of assets were gone upon her death. The remaining assets were ours because our names were on the financial instruments as owners.

    we didn't elect anything, but ended up with a nice little amount. It was a windfall, not something we expected for most of those years.

    the point here is that sharing your financial philosophy and plan is good. Open communication about France's is a good thing.
    +1 to all of this!!!

    I'm an estate planning and probate attorney, and I can tell you that transparency is my fervent recommendation. Kids expect to receive money. They just do. Nature abhors a vacuum, and they will fill it in with thoughts of inheritance, exactly as iris lilies says.

    And the idea of a continuing conversation over years rather than one sit-down talk is the most effective that I've seen. Just like talking to kids about sex and drugs, this information is best absorbed over time.

  3. #23
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    I don't think anyone would work less hard based on expecting to get money. People work as hard as they personally can (which if the job is hated by them and their heart is elsewhere, may have it's limits, but there you go). Fear, be very very afraid, what about retirement, etc. are very poor motivators. However they might motivate greater saving (which afterall is much easier than working harder anyway - it's easier to try to pinch pennies than work extra overtime). And they might motivate reduced risk taking, because no one else is going to catch you if the risks don't work out.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  4. #24
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I agree with Iris. My father, shortly after I had finished college (my sister is a few years older) sent us both a handwritten document listing he and mom's assets, and income (they were retired at the time) and list of all the various accounts, life insurance policies, etc. It also listed his lawyer's name and the fact that if you go to his office you should park in front of 'a show of hands' the manicure place downstairs from the lawyer's office. Every 5 or 6 years he sent a revised version. Over the years it became normal to discuss his finances with him. He sent the last update after mom died 9 years ago because there were some changes made as a result if her death. Consequently, when he passed away last fall there were no surprises or large hassles taking care of things. And in the 6 months before he passed, while in the hospital and nursing home we were able to manage his affairs well because my sister was already on his bank account and was able to get herself and me added to the other accounts prior to his death. And we knew that there was plenty of money to splurge on a private room at the nursing home, making his last month as pleasant as it could be under the circumstances. The only real hassle was getting his car registered in my name.

    And when my sister stopped by the lawyer's office for something she simply texted me a picture of the sign for 'a show of hands' and I knew where she was because we had joked for years about dad's attention to detail including parking instructions at his lawyer's office.

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    Well, the other thing... DS says "you guys are loaded". You can pay for this or that. It makes me cringe. We are comfortable but have many years to live. We travel as we like, do garage sales, and buy used over new... basically the frugal philosophy. He has and does live frugally too. Will think about informing him but am not looking forward to it.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I actually used to be friend's with a couple that did not work more then p.t., rack up CC bills, ask for help from their parents because they knew they were going to inherit a lot of $ when parents died. I think they would have done better if they didn't know. Got a $300,000 inheritance & upgraded to very expensive house then when hubby got cancer instead of using their insurance here they asked MOm to pay for 3 weeks of expensive treatment in another country. When Mom dies they will blow that too. Or maybe is she has a long nursing home stay there will be nothing & they also will be old & poor-68 now.

  7. #27
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    I actually used to be friend's with a couple that did not work more then p.t., rack up CC bills, ask for help from their parents because they knew they were going to inherit a lot of $ when parents died. I think they would have done better if they didn't know. Got a $300,000 inheritance & upgraded to very expensive house then when hubby got cancer instead of using their insurance here they asked MOm to pay for 3 weeks of expensive treatment in another country. When Mom dies they will blow that too. Or maybe is she has a long nursing home stay there will be nothing & they also will be old & poor-68 now.
    I don't understand how people change their lifestyle for $300,000. That is not very much.

    I guess hte bottom line is that that parents should have a philosophy about how their estate is distributed and communicate that, but then don't sweat it. We cannot control the behavior of others from the grave.

  8. #28
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal-one View Post
    Well, the other thing... DS says "you guys are loaded". You can pay for this or that. It makes me cringe. We are comfortable but have many years to live. We travel as we like, do garage sales, and buy used over new... basically the frugal philosophy. He has and does live frugally too. Will think about informing him but am not looking forward to it.
    My fault if I am be laboring this point. You know what's best for your family, obviously. I understand your concern about sharing your own financial,information with your son if he is already looking at your stash with a greedy eye.

    If in your shoes I would probably remind him that is it YOUR money, and if any if left after your death, he may get some. I honestly don't know if I would share the amount if your estate with him because it does not sound like he is realistic about money.

    I would consistently make is clear that it is YOUR money NOT his inheritance, and there may well not be any money left.. Far too many people look at their parents' stash as some life changing event, then they start asking for "my inheritance" early, leading to more problems.

  9. #29
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    Iris and TV Rodriguez, I have to ask. Would having my name on the financial instruments exempt me from any inheritance tax? My Dad is obsessed about this and I've wondered if creating joint accounts when one of them goes would be a simple solution that also facilitates disbursal of funds upon final liquidation of the estate.

  10. #30
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    If was as simple as having a name on an account why do people set up whole trusts. Of course I think money has to reach a large amount to be subject to estate taxes.

    300k might change my life. Maybe I would feel it was safe to make a career change or something. Noone in my family has so much money to their name, so not gonna happen. The house might be worth that but it's not maintained and despite advice from the financial advisor to try to maintain it noone does, so it's probably a tear down, maybe the land is. Who knows how much money my parents inherited (I mean just middle class inheritances) - from multiple people they have got inheritances, but the financial advisor says there won't be much to inherit period. They have given 100s of thousands of money to an irresponsible sibling, why would it have been bad for them to at least give a little to me early, or even given to me not to spend but to just hold in a bank account so that sibling didn't spend it all and I wasn't worried about mom's old age. The perfect equality thing would be nice, it would prevent all rewards going to irresponsibility as they will otherwise naturally go to of course. I think perfect equality towards all kids is the only thing that can possibly work.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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