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  1. #61
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    Thank you so much, everyone!

    I am an only child. My parents drafted up a will a few years ago when my mom had a major surgery, before that, their wills said "in the event of children." The will names me as their power of attorney and executor. Even getting them to update the will when confronted with a major surgery was difficult.

    My parents are not retired. My dad plans to retire in ten years when he is 70 and my mom has her own small business and will stop when she is no longer able to work, which could be within the next five years. She is in ok health right now, but is pre-diabetic and has a family history of heart disease in every member of her immediate family. My dad is in good health, but his job requires pretty heavy physical labor and he has had to have various surgeries over the years due to wear and tear on his body.

    Barbk, thanks for the suggestion to start small - that seems to be the best route. I should probably start making a list of things I need to know, and try to coax the information out of them gradually. Cruisin is right, I think they are unintentionally burdening me by trying so hard not to burden me with these kinds of things. They must also be trying to come to grips with getting older.

    Aceon thanks for the link. I'll check those out!

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    ^^ Stanhope, I don't know if this is state statute, but a will would not grant power of attorney. Once a person is gone you have an executor, who probates the will - with or without the help of an attorney. The purpose of power of attorney is for the living person who can no longer make rational decisions. that is a very simple procedure. An attorney drafts a form document that gives all or partial power to you, then your parent (individually) signs it with a notary witness. That power of attorney should not trump the healthy, rational person's wishes. However, should they get sick and become incapacitated, it gives you the ability to act on their behalf.

    Do your parents have a financial advisor? If so, it may be that person has knowledge of all of their holdings. They may feel that you will have the information when and if you need it.

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by moebius View Post
    I thought the premiums that we pay go into the pool of money for those who need to use it
    I am not an expert. I just know for this policy how it works. It states If I stop paying my premium, the amount I have paid is available for a claim. Not compounding, so they have made investment income. I do not specifics as to why.

    Comment on planning and whether one is healthy or younger. Accidents happen, younger people die, due to their not taking care or destructive behavior or accidents. If you want a say, do some planning. My sister died suddenly at 53, with no will. I was administrator. Our family was not sur of her wishes, including burial and we made the best decisions we could. But being unprepared, I was overwhelmed. In hindsight I would have made different decisions

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post


    Do your parents have a financial advisor?
    No, they do not. That's part of the problem - my parents are not good with money. I've repeatedly offered my mother the services of my financial advisor, but she has never sought out said advisor's services.

    Re: power of attorney...I'll have to clarify that point with them. I believe they signed a document in front of a notary around the time my mom had surgery five years ago. I might be wrong, though, and I could just be thinking about the will.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanhope View Post
    No, they do not. That's part of the problem - my parents are not good with money. I've repeatedly offered my mother the services of my financial advisor, but she has never sought out said advisor's services.

    Re: power of attorney...I'll have to clarify that point with them. I believe they signed a document in front of a notary around the time my mom had surgery five years ago. I might be wrong, though, and I could just be thinking about the will.
    If your mother signed a document giving power of attorney, unless it was withdrawn, it still gives that power. But to who? You or your father? And was it limited?

    I would try to get them to have someone look over what they have and how well invested it is. Tell them they don't have to include you if that makes them uncomfortable, but that there should be some record of their overall assets, somewhere, with someone. Do they have a safe deposit box? And are you on it? If you are you can go into it if something happens to them. If not, it is locked until the will is probated. So, if they have money put aside for funeral arrangements, and it is in a safe deposit box, you may not be able to get to it.

    Now, this may make you feel better. I am 57, my husband is 67 and still works. We have our finances in order, but our kids are not really aware of where everything is.

  6. #66

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    stanhope - many of us who are in our late 50's or early 60's have had some of the following things in our lives which might impact our not wanting to talk to our children about finances:
    • we grew up with the notion that our lives/income would be greater than our parents (your grandparents)
    • We needed to provide our children with a high standard of living, even if it meant going into debt.
    • We were impacted by the recession in the 80's, may have recovered in the 90's and were encouraged to take high risk investments and then got slammed during the current recession. In the 90's retirement was still 15 -20 years away and investment advisors said you should use the 60-40 rule for investments, taking on more riskier investments.
    • Before the mid 70's-early 80's, credit cards were very limited in both their use and the ceiling of credit. We paid outright for most items. Credit cards came along and it was quite easy to use them without realizing how much debt you are accumulating
    • The housing boom in the 90's early 00's, people refinanced their house at the super inflated prices to have disposable income
    • Many of us felt that we needed to pay for our children's education, taking out huge loans to do so.
    • Many of us in the age range that you said your parents are in, do not consider themselves as elderly and therefore do not think that you should be in the middle of their finances
    • Many of us have taken care of our parents and children, feeling very sandwiched in the needs of both. We do not want do the same thing to you if we can prevent it.
    • Most of us realize that SS was not going to be solvent which is why we are planning on working until our 70's. Then the job market has fallen apart and companies "lay-off" the most expensive workers first. ie the ones who have the most seniority, cost more than someone in the 20's. It is extremely difficult to be in the "useless" segment of a population. And not wanting to ask for help from your children.

    at the current time, our children have a small idea of the state of our finances, and it wasn't until 9 months ago that I got a clearer picture of my parents financial picture, they are in their mid 80's. It is going to take time and understanding on your part to obtain some information. You need to do it slowly, with dignity and respect, non demanding and accept that you will only get small pieces. If there is a lot of debt, they will most likely feel shamed/embarassed by it. That is really hard to face with your adult child as you think that you should be or have been responsible enough to prevent it from happening.

  7. #67

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    ^ This.

    Some of my family and friends have been honest with their kids all along. Others, not so much. It's like the old saw about the swan. What you see above the water is calm, but you have no idea what's going on below.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    One way to open a finances dialogue is to offer to take over the payments for your student loans. That's a mature way to show that you're concerned and that you're a responsible person. You sound like you can manage money, so that would be a small way to relieve their debt and let your parents put the monies intended for student loan payments towards other expenses.

  9. #69
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    Numbers, great post.

    I would also add that those of us in our 50's and 60's probably had kids later than our parents did. My kids are in their early mid 20's. We're still helping them!

    But, while I agree with every thin you said, I still feel that parents should at least let their kids know where their assets are, if they have any. Or, have some financial person who can assist the kids if something happens to them. It is a nightmare to have something happen to parents and have no idea where their assets are or what they have.

  10. #70
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    I got a helpful booklet from currentcatalog.com called "Information my family needs to know". It is a file folder with loose leaf pages to fill in with bank account and insurance information, wills, power of attorney etc. Maybe starting with something like that, just filling out one page at a time might be less overwhelming. Just having the list of recommended information will be helpful if you're not sure what you should be gathering.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    One way to open a finances dialogue is to offer to take over the payments for your student loans. That's a mature way to show that you're concerned and that you're a responsible person. You sound like you can manage money, so that would be a small way to relieve their debt and let your parents put the monies intended for student loan payments towards other expenses.
    This made me laugh. Not because I don't want to help my parents with the student loans they took out for me, but because I shouldered the majority of the loans and burden of the student loan debt. They have $4,000 debt on my education, I have $40,000. So no, I won't be helping them with their payment any time soon.

    Numbers - thank you for that wonderful post explaining the circumstances. It gave me a sense of where my parents are coming from. I need to learn that I can't expect this problem to go away over night and magically know everything tomorrow. I think I just want to know that they will be okay and that they've prepared. And if they haven't, I want to help them plan for the future.

    I'll check out currentcatalog.com for that booklet you mentioned, lutz. I think my mom could easily get on board with that. I could just present it to her nonchalantly and tell her to fill it out at her own pace. It might not be daunting that way or come across as me trying to invade her privacy.

  12. #72
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    Eeerrr?? It's just

    Thansk a lot to everyone for the information in this thread, probably only Michael Moore could educate me better. I am serious btw.

  13. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by stanhope View Post

    I'll check out currentcatalog.com for that booklet you mentioned, lutz. I think my mom could easily get on board with that. I could just present it to her nonchalantly and tell her to fill it out at her own pace. It might not be daunting that way or come across as me trying to invade her privacy.
    Stanhope -- I'm going out on a limb here, but if your folks are not so comfortable dealing with financial realities, maybe cutting up the booklet and giving it to them a little bit each visit might work better -- less daunting; less likely to be put in the "I'll get to it someday" pile that then gets buried.

    Stapling it inside a brightly colored folder might also help.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanhope View Post
    I'll check out currentcatalog.com for that booklet you mentioned, lutz. I think my mom could easily get on board with that. I could just present it to her nonchalantly and tell her to fill it out at her own pace. It might not be daunting that way or come across as me trying to invade her privacy.
    Here's an idea. Get that catalog and give it to them to fill out. Then go to the bank and (if they don't already have one) get a safe deposit box. Have your name on the box, so that in an emergency you can get into it. But, if they want privacy, don't go into it unless it's necessary. Encourage them to keep all important papers in the safe deposit box - wills, car documents, the deed to their house, etc. If they fill out the catalog pages, do not leave them lying around the house, they could get into the wrong hands.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1lutz2klutz View Post
    I got a helpful booklet from currentcatalog.com called "Information my family needs to know". It is a file folder with loose leaf pages to fill in with bank account and insurance information, wills, power of attorney etc. Maybe starting with something like that, just filling out one page at a time might be less overwhelming. Just having the list of recommended information will be helpful if you're not sure what you should be gathering.
    Aww... catalog says it's not available at this time. (If it's the right one I'm looking at.)

  16. #76

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    Copy on Amazon

    http://www.amazon.com/Information-Fa...6590177&sr=8-1

    But -- I wouldn't leave the section on funeral arrangements in a safety deposit box -- that's something that you need to have to hand. If they want to be cremated, finding that out after you've already paid for embalming and a casket is an expensive surprise. So is buying a cemetery plot only to learn that they already own one.

  17. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    Stanhope -- I'm going out on a limb here, but if your folks are not so comfortable dealing with financial realities, maybe cutting up the booklet and giving it to them a little bit each visit might work better -- less daunting; less likely to be put in the "I'll get to it someday" pile that then gets buried.

    Stapling it inside a brightly colored folder might also help.
    I am going out on a limb here too. If one of my kids did that, I would be insulted and less likely to discuss any financial things with them ever.

    Unless I am found incompetent, my financial status is mine and mine alone. I am not saying this is the situation with Standhope's parents. And even if I was completely out of control with my spending, unless the loans or cards are in one or more of my kids' name - they do not need to know.

  18. #78
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    I agree with numbers - stanhope's parents are in their early 60's, hardly a foot in the grave situation. No dementia, no long term health problems and they've already told stanhope what their wishes are if they get ill. I don't get the urgency.
    3539 and counting.

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  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    I agree with numbers - stanhope's parents are in their early 60's, hardly a foot in the grave situation. No dementia, no long term health problems and they've already told stanhope what their wishes are if they get ill. I don't get the urgency.
    My mother was 53 and just fine. Until the day she suddenly dropped dead in the yard from a cerebral aneurysm. Then I had to pick up the pieces -- try to figure out where all her money was, whether she'd ever updated her will, what debt she may have had, even whether / where she had life insurance. My brother & I had to guess at what her preferences would be for her funeral service and burial. It was a nightmare and took 2 horrible years of my life.

    Any parent who refuses to discuss basic, practical estate matters with an adult child is, in my opinion, being selfish, unrealistic, and foolish. Mostly selfish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    Unless I am found incompetent, my financial status is mine and mine alone.
    Except that somebody is going to have to deal with your finances after you die. How much hell do you want to put your child through? Isn't their grieving your death enough of a burden? Do you want them to also have to try to piece together your financial puzzle and tidy it all up after you're gone?

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