End-of-life plans are uncomfortable but important topics of conversation that parents should have with their adult children. NY1's Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Talking with your adult children about your end-of-life plans, financial and otherwise, is understandably an uncomfortable conversation, which probably explains why so few people are actually having it.
"Among baby boomers, people in their early 50s to mid-60s today, just a third have had a conversation with their adult children about their financial state and their plans and 44 percent of people 67 and older have had that conversation with their adult kids," says Donna Rosato, a senior writer at Money Magazine.
However, there are ways to lessen the awkwardness and still impart the necessary information. Rosato says you can start with very general information.
"At a minimum, you need to let your kids know if you have a will, any financial directives and if you've made funeral arrangements," she says.
Beyond that, if you do want to discuss actual finances, it doesn't mean you need to reveal every last penny. You should, however, fill your kids in about what accounts you have, where you have them and what they'll need to access them.
"You want to make sure you leave your Social Security number behind, you want to make sure you list the different account numbers you have for your bank, your investment accounts, your insurance policies, and who to contact," Rosato says. "It's really important to make that list.
If you plan to leave them money, or help them down the line with a down payment on a home or grandchildren's college tuition, Rosato says that is one area where it pays to be specific.
"You don't want them to be unprepared or not save enough if you're only going to be able to help them with a certain amount of money," Rosato says.
However, if you're not in the financial shape you'd like to be, Rosato says you don't need to share that news just yet.
"Maybe you can save some more or retire later," she says.
Rosato adds if you do confide in your children, they may offer suggestions or offer to help. Either way, she says, unpleasant as it may be, the conversation should leave you and your loved ones feeling a little more at ease.
"If you think about it, you don't want your kids looking for the documents wondering what to do if you are not in good health," says Rosato. "It's going to ease a lot of financial worries for you and give your kids piece of mind too."