What Your Kids Wish You Would Tell Them

Based on conversations with our clients who have adult children, the odds are pretty high that you could do a better job of letting your kids know what kind of legal documents you already have in place and where your financial accounts are located.

Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you financially undress in front of your children. But it is important for your children to know at which financial institutions, banks, insurance companies and the like, you have accounts.

Over and over again we hear from our clients that they never want to be a burden to their children. This seems to translate into thinking you can't ask your children for help, but in a recent survey by Fidelity over 70 per cent of adult kids were more than willing to help their parents out with their finances.

Another startling statistic in this survey revealed that an adult child was listed as the executor of their parents' estate in 92 per cent of the instances. I'm guessing the other eight per cent listed a corporate trustee. Of the kids listed as executor of their parents' estate, only 27 per cent of them knew they were listed as executor of their estate. Have you named your children executor of your estate? More importantly, have you told them?

You might be thinking that if you ever did need help managing your money or investments, one of your kids would help out.

The same survey showed that only 36 per cent of the kids knew they were going to be asked to help manage mom and dad’s money.

What I found really interesting in this survey is over two-thirds of the parents felt like they had a detailed conversation with their children about their estate plan, but less than half of the kids say they've had a detailed conversation.

Are you really, really sure you've had a detailed conversation with your children about your wills and estate planning documents and wishes?

This doesn't surprise me based on conversations we've had with our clients. This survey also revealed that 64 per cent of families have not had detailed conversations about long-term care, elder care, or home healthcare. To me, this means 64 per cent of families surveyed are setting themselves up for an eventual crisis care situation.

Parents, take it from us. Your grown adult children are ready and willing to help you out, but they want to know about it now so that they can be better prepared if you need their help later on.

Having access to your legal documents is critically important. One in nine Americans 65+ has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. At age 85, it's one out of every three.

If your adult child is going to help you pay your bills or manage your investments, they need to know what's out there and where it is. Take it from me and my wife it's not easy to step into this role if you don't know what's in place or where they're located.

I get it. It always seems too early to talk about finances, estate strategy and documents until it's too late. Take it from us, the families who we've seen feel the most comfortable are the ones who have had these conversations early and often and revisit their decisions on a regular basis.