Casey L Williams, an expert in business financials shares her tips below on how to have conversations with your aging parents regarding money.
Financials is kind of a taboo topic. How do you ask your parents about money? You don’t really need to know how much they have in the bank. You don’t need to know how much they have with regards to investments but you need to know where it is.
Last Tax Return
So when you have a parent and they pass away and you go to their accountant to file that last tax return you need to be in the know because not every accountant is in the up and up, unfortunately. You need to have that conversation with your parents to know who their CPA is, who does their taxes, where their investments are and who their investment guy is. You need to know where they store those old tax returns in their house and where they bank.
I know like my grandparents bought some stock in a utility company. Fortunately, the utility company mailed them so that’s how my parents knew that the stocks ever existed because they could have closed the estate without any idea that the stocks were around.
The older generation is really secretive so you need to know where they store those statements. You need to have that conversation now when there is no emotion because during that time there is a lot of emotion. You can do it now with love rather than later when you are on an emotional rollercoaster. You will avoid having to go through the cabinet and drawers looking for tax returns hoping there is a business card there that you can find so that you can know who did their taxes. I can’t tell you how many times I have had such conversations with my client’s children who would come and say that their dad passed away earlier this year what do you need from us to do his taxes. So I would tell them …Ok, last year we had this six companies, we need a checking account from here, they had a rental property and they say what? Dad had a rental property? Sometimes I tell their children things they don’t have an idea of.
Don’t be an unknowledgeable person, you need to have this conversation with your parent. You will save your parent’s accountant grief from uncomfortable conversations when the conversations need to happen. Sometimes we tell the children information that they didn’t know ever existed so you owe it to your parents to have that conversation ahead of time.