What Four Estate Planning Things  Parents Should Tell Their Children

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What Four Estate Planning Things Parents Should Tell Their Children

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May 31, 2012

It's interesting that as parents age, especially when they get 70, they start thinking about their own mortality. It's hard to know what to tell your kids. I'm a parent today. As parents they have kids that get older, they start to think about which of their kids they think are responsible and which aren't especially when it comes to money. Many parents are nervous to tell their kids about how much money they have or what's happening with the family finances because they either don't want to bother their kids or they're worried that their kids may change their lives based on how much they know their future inheritance will be. However, there are a lot of parents that don't spend enough time talking to their kids about estate planning or overall long-term planning with their kids at all. If you wanted to cue your parents in on what they should tell you, here are four things that I think are a must.

1. Who is the executor of the estate? If you have a will set up, it's important to tell which child or children are the executors of your estate. Inevitably, they should know where is your will is stored. It is in a safe deposit box? It is somewhere at the house? Or, what's the name of the attorney that has the will on file? As the executors of the estate, they're the ones that are going to be responsible for the orderly administration of all of your assets. So it's important to at least let them know that they are the executors. Sometimes, kids don't want this responsibility. This doesn't mean you need to talk about how much money you have, but you should be able to let them know that they will be the ones that will be helping to administer the estate down the road.

2. What's the game plan for long term care? This is one that parents will avoid all day long due to the challenging nature of the question. Many parents that hit the age of 60, 65, or 70, may or may not have nursing home insurance. If they don't have long term care insurance, one of the questions they should be discussing with you is who might be available to help in the future. Sometimes, the kids want to pay for long term care insurance if in fact the parents cannot afford it themselves. You may think it's your middle daughter or you may think it's going to be your youngest son that will take care of you. The kids may have thoughts themselves about who's going to do what or worse yet they may have not talked at all. So it's important to have some discussion that if something happens your children have some idea of how the chain of command and responsibilities will roll down at that time. I had an uncle of mine that unfortunately went into a nursing home and wiped out their entire financial situation. This is a quality discussion to have as a family.

3. Advanced Medical Directive / Living Will? You should talk to your kids about whether you have a living will or an advanced medical directive as part of your overall estate planning. Letting your children know these types of things and if you are an organ donor can at least prepare your children for your wishes somewhere down the road. You may be uncertain about your wishes if you had some tragic situation that actually put you on some sort of thing that's keeping your life going. And if you've already pre-made decisions about what's going to happen, that would be an important thing to share with them.

4. Where Is Everything Located? I've yet to see someone pass away without the family having to deal with some level of mystery on where documents, collectibles, or bank accounts are located. With today's technology, getting your finances organized in an electronic account aggregation type software or at least collecting all of your documents in one place with instructions on where everything is located will be important for your children. Often, families can have a major struggle over personal possessions especially if one member of the family has more knowledge than another including brothers and sisters as well as children. The goal of doing this isn't to share your financial picture, but merely give your family a go to person or a location so things can be sorted out easily in the event of a premature death.

The key within this article is that as a parent you don't have to discuss money, your net worth, or what's happening with your overall budget. Many parents don't want to be a burden on their children or they don't want their children counting on a future inheritance. Make sure to discuss with your kids these important points so at least they can take the opportunity to discuss and plan their own lives to best support you and your overall estate plan.

Visit to www.oxygenfinancial.net to request a free consultation with the leading financial experts for people in their 20's, 30's, and 40's in the country.

Written by:

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®

Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc - The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Advisor Services, LLC (NFPAS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Oxygen Financial is not affiliated with NFPAS. NFPAS does not provide tax or legal advice. This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives and Investment Advisor Representatives of NFP Advisor Services, LLC (NFPAS) may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Not all products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed. For additional information, please contact NFPAS Compliance Department at 512-697-6000. PLEASE NOTE: The information being provided is strictly as a courtesy. When you link to any of the web sites provided here, you are leaving this web site. NFP Advisor Services, LLC makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these web sites. Nor is NFP Advisor Services, LLC liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, web sites, information and programs made available through this web site. When you access one of these web sites, you are leaving our web site and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the web sites you are linking to.

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Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives of Kestra IS and Investment Advisor Representatives of Kestra AS may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Not all products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed. For additional information, please contact Kestra IS Compliance Department at 844-553-7872.

PLEASE NOTE: The information being provided is strictly as a courtesy. When you link to any of the web sites provided here, you are leaving this web site. Kestra IS and Kestra AS makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these web sites. Nor is Kestra IS and Kestra AS liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, web sites, information and programs made available through this web site. When you access one of these web sites, you are leaving our web site and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the web sites you are linking to.