Is it a parent's responsibility to tell their married sons or daughters about their finances or an insurance policy (will be paid out at the end of the year) that has paid out? Any suggestions or advice?
By Dorothy from SA
I don't think there is any "should" to this question. I know about my sons' finances because I do their taxes. I tell them some of the details about mine, mainly to illustrate what they might want to do, or to suggest saving strategies. However, my sons are still in their twenties and just beginning to set up RRSPs, get into home ownership, and so on. I don't think you have to tell them about this policy if you don't want to. If you are worried that they might hit you up for a loan or something, don't tell them.
On the other hand, my 81 year old mother gambles a lot, and I would like to know more about her finances than I do, just to be sure she is not making herself destitute. I am an only child, and she is a widow.
Every situation is different.
My husband and I have a combined total of 8 children and we don't tell them anything about our finances. It's none of their business. Once in awhile one of them will approach us with an idea for making money (usually the younger ones!) and then we tell them we don't have money to gamble but that's as far as we go.
It is not a concern of your children what your finances are. Too many times a parent will share with their children the parents personal finances only to breed resentment because onechild will think they deserve more than the other siblings. Write out a will what each child will recieve if anything.
No, do not tell them anything. If you do, you will hear all kinds of sob stories about their finances. You paid out a lot of cash for that insurance policy and it is your own money. They are not children any more.
I don't think it is your "responsibility", but, what's wrong with honesty? If it comes up you can tell them the facts and your position and plans. If it doesn't come up, don't bother. I've had the unpleasant experience of being called to the hospital for an emergency with my dad ( who has Alzheimers) and my stepmother refusing any information about his insurance coverage or finances. It's a terrible position to be in when you are facing an emotional crisis and on top of that you have to deal with uncertain financial stuff. (Just thought maybe you could/would keep that in mind for the future.)
In my humble opinion the only thing I feel they need to know about is information that would be needed should you become incapacitated or pass away.
We set up a trust with our attorney. We told our adult children that should anything happen to us that they should contact his office for any final arrangements. We have put everything in writing ie: who gets what & etc. The financial part is also written and it is equally shared between the 3 children. This way, you don't have to say a word to them, and your assets are protected when probate comes along. Your children will appreciate that you have done this...good luck
It depends on your situation. If you don't want your kids to know too much, then make sure you've got all your paperwork in order and they know how to get it when it becomes necessary. I knew nothing about my parents finances and they were in a car accident. I suddenly had to deal with all kinds of stuff. I had no idea what bills needed to be paid, what insurance policies they had, etc.
If you think they will try to get your money from you or bicker and cause problems, keep a detailed list of all your important information with a copy of your will and let them know the lawyer has it. But please, share with them what you feel you can now, before an emergency when everyone is emotional.
You need someone who can be trusted and be a neutral party. This person most likely will be your POA as well. I am frank with what we have in funds. Not much. Frugal is insisted upon as a life style. There is nothing worse then when a parent gets sick or in an accident to have to start KNOWING all that should have been known by someone who is THERE to help. The cost factor alone of information searches. Do you know that to get your drivers license NOW because of new homeland security measures, you must have your birth certificate? So if you don't know where that is, you can't get a license. And to get a new copy of the birth certificate if it is not in the county you reside in, you must have a copy of the driver's license as one of the proofs. Does it make sense? To a point. But if you don't let your kids know where things are to assist when things go wrong, what does that say for trust in your family? Find someone you trust.
You can't cancel utility services, cable, phone without their permission. Then you have to send copies of the permission to the companies. So the bills add up cause you are not listed as one to deal with things.
My husband was an only child, we got his parents to put things into a safety deposit box at the bank and put us on as signers IF they could not be there. When his dad died, we got a bigger box for us and put all into that. Even so, we let his mom control her own business UNTIL we found out the bad judgments she was making that did not protect herself. She put all the money grandpa had sorted out for the grandchildren when the farm was sold into POD. So when she was sick and hospitalized and nursing home, all the CDs put away by grandpa decades prior had to go to her cares. She never did understand what she did. Point is: If you have money set aside for family, etc, have the bank/lawyer make it theirs in a trust, etc. POD meant anyone could have sent a bill for anything (bogus) and it would have had to be paid (If we did not have proof). My husband was her POA, etc but when she went to the nursing home and we started cleaning the house, etc we found she hid things in grocery bags under clothing in the closet. Things we could have been helping with, knowing about. We had to do many searches for information that had been hidden. Hidden Why? Old age, forgetful-ness and even worse, dementia.
Bottom line, she kept telling the only grandchildren of all the things grandpa had left them and it was all gone. Money set aside to help with college, etc. Yes it was invested, but under the grandparents names.
The one thing bad about not telling your children anything is if you get in a wreck and are unable to talk or even die the children will not know what or how to contact your bank or insurance companies. Why not tell them all at one time what your plans are and get a lawyer to hold your papers. Also you might want to get an power of attorney. That depends on your age. Go talk with a lawyer on how to handle this. It will save you and your children a lot of headaches in the future.
By all means let them know details such as where to find the insurance policies and where your will is filed in case of deaths. Also you need to discuss living wills with your children--have one drawn up and give each child a copy. When you go to the hospital have a copy placed into your files or have your children do this if you are unable. My father suddenly went to the hospital unconscious and my family didn't know what he would want. It was quite awful. Think ahead to save them the work of hunting for important papers.
The only things we've told our adult children is that we have individual wills, and that insurance policies and other important financial paperwork are in a specific location, as well as them knowing who our executor will be.
Beyond that, adult kids should be told what's accessible for them to make your final arrangements and take care of any outstanding debt that may still be hanging around after you're gone. That really is a need-to-know for your survivors so there's not more chaos and confusion for them on top of the emotional loss when the inevitable happens to you.
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