General Etiquette > Family and Children

What do we do?

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ladyknight1:
My family of origin (FOO) never discussed money or finances, and struggled financially because of poor planning. I am the oldest child, with two younger siblings. When I moved out of the house, I did not know how to manage my money, but I learned as I went. As I went on with my life, I didn't worry about my FOO and their financial situation, treated it as if it were not my business and have kept out of it.

It came to my attention yesterday that my parents (65 & 69) do not have a will, living will, or any kind of budget. They do not have a financial adviser or attorney.
They are on one income.
My mother is in poor health.

If I brought up finances in conversation, it would not go well. However, this is a case where we (my sisters and I) will be dealing with the fallout regardless of the discussion occurring now, or if something were to happen to one of my parents. I do not know what their last wishes would be.

Any advice would be welcome.

JenJay:
I wouldn't bring up their finances if they don't. As for the will, I understand why you're concerned because you want to respect their wishes. Obviously that'll be difficult if you don't know what they are. I'd approach it pro-actively like "DH and I have been discussing wills, our wishes for burial, etc. It's not pleasant, but we want to make sure we know what the other wants so we can make sure that happens. It occurred to me that I don't know what you want, either. If you'd like to share that with me I'll do my best to make sure it's taken care of. I know it's unpleasant to discuss." Then the ball is in their court. If they don't communicate their wishes you can't be faulted for doing your best if the time comes.  :-\

Mikayla:
How did this come to your attention?  Was it something they said to you, or was it second hand?

If it was something they said, I definitely think it opens the door to a more detailed convo, but if it was second hand, I personally would leave it alone.  It's really tough, but if they're both mentally sound and making their own decisions, I just don't see how you could comment on that. 

And with the issue of their last wishes, how does anyone know what they've said to each other? 

Crosspost:  I really like the way JenJay put it for the will issue.

I'm curious to see what others say.

WillyNilly:
Can you bring it up abstractly? Sort of "wow my friend Amanda is going through a heck of a time! her parents had no will and then her dad was hit by a car. The mom was beside herself and Amanda & her brother didn't know the dad's wishes. Totally tragic and on top of the whole horror of losing her husband, Amanda's mom is now in a real bind. And of course gosh forbid anything happen to her now, with no will, Amanda and her brother would really be up a creek... hey how are you two doing planning wise? I have a great FA I met down at the bank, when was the last time you had everything shored up?"

Or might they respond well to a popular book, or article by a "trendy" advice figure, something like Dr Phil's Guide to Estate Planning?

Yvaine:

--- Quote from: JenJay on May 10, 2013, 12:30:43 PM ---I wouldn't bring up their finances if they don't. As for the will, I understand why you're concerned because you want to respect their wishes. Obviously that'll be difficult if you don't know what they are. I'd approach it pro-actively like "DH and I have been discussing wills, our wishes for burial, etc. It's not pleasant, but we want to make sure we know what the other wants so we can make sure that happens. It occurred to me that I don't know what you want, either. If you'd like to share that with me I'll do my best to make sure it's taken care of. I know it's unpleasant to discuss." Then the ball is in their court. If they don't communicate their wishes you can't be faulted for doing your best if the time comes.  :-\

--- End quote ---

I like this.

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