The New York Times is chock-full of good material this weekend. Here is an article showing what happens when parents don’t discuss their financial affairs with their kids. Much of the article focuses on problems after death (although there is one section that follows a child dealing with their parent’s Alzheimer’s condition.
The point is the same. Kids left to deal with their parent’s affairs often have little guidance, and their ignorance can cause substantial frustration, pain, and financial cost.
I’m a bit cynical when it comes to discussing this topic because in my experience few people will overcome the inertia keeping them without a plan, and keeping their kids in the dark. Typically, I’ll meet one of the children dealing with the last remaining parent’s affairs. In these cases, there is usually some dementia involved, which means that the financial questions are immediate and significant. There’s a nursing home bill for $10,000 or more every month, and the child doesn’t know what to do. At this point, it’s often too late to do much to prepare the child to deal with the reality of what’s going on – we’re just in the middle of it.
No one plans on getting incapacitated. We all think we’ve got more time here to let our kids know how to handle our affairs. Unfortunately, if you are off by a single day waiting to get this done…well, it’s too late.
Posted by Victor J. Medina, Medina Law Group, LLC