One of the most difficult but vital conversations to have with your parents is about their future finances.
Your parents will fear ‘losing control’ but you don’t need to examine it down to the last penny but you do need to cover basic points to make sure there are no nasty surprises ahead for them or you!
These are the basic eight questions you should be asking:
Do you have a record of your investments, property and important documents?
One of the biggest estate planning mistakes that parents can make is simply not telling their children where their assets are. Place everything into one place or folder and list the contents. It should contain a list of their bank, pension and investment accounts and account numbers.
Do you have a financial plan and when was it last reviewed?
Increased life expectancy means a 65yr old woman can, on average, expect to live until she is 90, so it is important to understand the sources of income your parents are relying on to support their income. Do you know who their financial adviser is or how to contact them?
Have you made a Will and is there anything out of the ordinary we should be aware of?
Make sure that your parents have an up-to-date Will. If it is more than three years old, it is worth suggesting they review it to make sure their wishes are reflected and that it is tax efficient. Ask if there is anything specific which has been gifted or something that they may wish to discuss now.
In addition, it is worth checking that they have updated the beneficiaries of their life insurance policies or pensions. These are legally binding documents that may override bequests made in their Will.
Have you considered a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document in which someone nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs in the event that they are unable to do so themselves.
Many people delay this process but the reality is that the best time to put an LPA in place is long before you think you might need it.
When was the last time you looked at your pension nomination forms?
Since most pension funds are held outside your estate and therefore not covered by your Will it’s essential that your parents have completed an ‘expression of wish’ form for all of their pension schemes.
If you can no longer take care of yourself, when and where would you consider moving?
Exploring whether your parents have thought about what they’ll do when they can no longer maintain a big garden or climb stairs is a difficult question to ask at the best of times, who wants to be reminded of their mortality?
In the event of an illness or worse you’ll need to address whether they want to stay in their own home or move nearer to you or a sibling. Would they want in-home care? Would they prefer moving to an assisted living facility, and if so, which one?
Have you done an inventory of the items on your home?
This can be very helpful in establishing what your parents have and what each item is worth.
From the parent’s point of view, it may help to clarify what they have and how they would to divide up their possessions. From the children’s point of view, it enables them to indicate to their parents any items they are especially interested in and agree between them a division which the parents could then include in a revised Will.
How do you like to receive financial information?
Children, especially the millennial generation who were brought up with computers, often forget that their parents’ generation is much less comfortable with technology.
If you are helping your parents with their investments you should not assume that they will want the internet option when communicating with financial companies. Discuss with them whether they prefer the letter or phone option, even if it is more expensive.
18 January 2018
The views expressed in this blog do not in any way constitute advice and are specific to the date noted. As time passes the facts can change and readers should consult their adviser for up to date advice on any matters covered within the blog. Invest Southwest offers an initial review, which is free of charge, however long it takes. From this we will be able to confirm how we can help and give you an opportunity to decide if you would like us to. Thereafter, we will provide you with detailed recommendations and exact costs. Please note that we promise not to levy any kind of fee unless we can demonstrate a benefit to you.