Time to talk
It is important to talk to your family about finances. Finances are one of the trickiest topics to talk about with family members because many people have traditional ideas about what you should and shouldn’t discuss.
Some conversations need to happen, but that doesn’t make them any easier and money is very often a taboo subject. However, you and your parents need to know if they have a Will and where it is. Are they taking care of their finances currently and have they made a Lasting Power of Attorney in case they are unable to continue to deal with them? It may be difficult to raise these subjects but it is worse not to know the answers if the unthinkable happens.
If you're lucky, your parents will age gracefully and support each other in their old age. Unfortunately it doesn't always work like that.
Having that difficult conversation – Some Do’s and Don'ts
- Ask for a time to speak with your parent. Allow them to choose a time that is convenient.
- Plan what you want to discuss. Having solutions and options available can make the future discussion go more smoothly. Giving them choices keeps them in control
- Reassure them that you have their best interests at heart.
- Rush in with solutions and make them feel their views don't count.
- Wait for a crisis to happen. It's harder to put arrangements in place when action must be taken in a hurry and everyone is stressed.
Topics for conversation
· Wills - You should ask your parents if they have made Wills and if the Wills need to be reviewed. If there is no Will, you should encourage them to make one but the decision about in what goes in their Will is theirs.
· Lasting Powers of Attorney - What if your parent can no longer make decisions about their property, finances, health or welfare in the future? Have they considered appointing someone to manage their affairs? Without a Lasting Power of Attorney it is very difficult to help manage their affairs if they can no longer look after things themselves.
· Care Home Fees- Are your parents concerned that their house may need to be sold to pay for their care home fees? They may be able to protect part of their property by making Wills in which they place a shares of their property into a trust.
· Location of important documents - Do your parents know where their deeds, Wills, policy documents, share certificates and other important documents are stored?
Discussions about suitable arrangements can be sensitive. We are very experienced in helping families talk through such issues in an appropriate and practical manner. We can advise on the best ways to arrange things so that practical help can be given to an elderly parent whilst ensuring their interests are properly protected.
We must ensure that your parent reaches a decision about arrangements that they understand and are genuinely happy with and that the decisions our clients make are of their own choice.