As the holiday season is nearing its crescendo, for many this may be the only time of year you get to spend with your loved ones all in one spot. It’s important to share quality time with them, of course, but it may also be a key opportunity to have what many people consider an uncomfortable discussion: a conversation about finances.
Sharing your financial plans may be one of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself and your loved ones for what lies ahead. Whether you are a parent setting appropriate expectations for final care and potential inheritances, or a child concerned your parents may need help in case of a long-term illness, having a discussion about financial affairs is invaluable.
There are several ways to have these conversations. Ideally you can conduct the meeting away from distractions like the little ones or the football game, but that’s not always the case. You don’t have to share dollar amounts or specifics about your plans or concerns, but the primary purpose is to share your plans with enough detail that everyone knows their roles and you establish appropriate expectations for your legacy goals. This should include your wishes regarding your health care decisions as well. Sharing the information allows for discussion of “why” or “why not” and can help confirm the people you’ve chosen to carry out your plan are willing and able to assume that role.
To help you shape your conversation, consider reviewing the “Conducting a Family Meeting About Finances” piece available from a Benjamin F. Edwards financial advisor. In it you will find ideas of the type of information you may want to share, along with possible techniques to successfully conduct your family meeting. Proper planning and sharing of your legacy goals can help assure your family understands your wishes and can help them smoothly implement your plan when the time comes.
Benjamin F. Edwards does not provide tax advice, therefore it is also important to consult with your tax professional for additional guidance tailored to your specific situation.