How do we get our parents to talk about death?
For many in the greatest generation, topics such as income, money, and assets were never discussed. These were considered private matters not to be shared with family members or friends. However, this close-to-the-vest behavior makes it extremely difficult for family members to know or access information when they are gone.
So how do you approach a parent or loved one for information on where to locate this critical information when they pass on?
Here are some strategies:
Approach your parents or loved ones to have an open discussion. Don’t demand they share the details with you. Simply request they share the general information, such as what they have (e.g., insurance policies, retirement plan or pension, a will, etc.) and where bank accounts are located so when the time comes they will be accessible.
Have your loved one complete health care or general power of attorney (POA) forms, or have their accounts designated as payable on death (POD). This way, you will have legal access to their information and accounts if your loved one is incapacitated or passes on.
If they are uncomfortable talking about this, approach them with an organizer, checklist, or guide and ask them to complete this for you and store it somewhere safe. That way, they can record the items you will need, while still keeping the details of their information private.
Also, don’t forget to talk about their last wishes. Many times families are left scrambling because they can’t agree on what mom or dad would have wanted.
So have the conversation now and encourage your loved ones to record the vital information you will need to know!
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