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Old 01-31-2015, 12:30 PM
Location: Florida -
8,764 posts, read 10,843,052 times
Reputation: 16634


In another thread on the financial forum, a similar question was asked in the context of young children.

But, our 'children' are now in their 40's and the subject raises another issue. How much should grown 'children' know about their parents financial situation? As we age, it seems increasingly important that our grown children not only know how much we have and where it is located, but, also to have a voice in long-term 'estate' planning. This is particularly relevant to those who plan to outlive their money and leave an 'estate' that will be determined by investment decisions today.

Ours have always said, "It's your money, spend it on yourselves and don't worry about us." But, this isn't a universal response. For example, I've seen the situation turn 'ugly' when adult children get overly focused on 'their inheritance' or even make decisions regarding things like cutting corners on nursing home care for elderly parents. Also, I've heard some express almost a sense of 'entitlement' toward their parents assets, when things like unemployment, divorce or significant financial loss arise.

Then, there is the other side of the coin, when aging parents are living much closer to financial poverty than their grown children realize.
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:59 PM
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Whatever you are comfortable sharing. My child will know everyting about my finances. The fact that she knows about my finaces will not stop me from doing what I want with the money.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:31 PM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,737,509 times
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As the OP himself suggests, there are many facets to this question. My mother was an extremely private person - she didn't want anyone to "know her business", including her two children. But in her late 80's she had gotten to the point where she was having trouble managing her finances. For example, she would receive a check and "lose" it before getting around to depositing it. Then my sister would locate the check in my mother's apartment somewhere. Finally about that time my mother changed her mind and admitted my sister to that inner circle of knowledge of her finances. Not only did she inform my sister about the various bank accounts, etc., but she took the step of putting both of us on the accounts as signatories.

Now that latter step could have been problematic if my sister and I hadn't both had a strong sense of integrity because we could have cleaned my mother out! I believe my mother knew, correctly, that we would not do such a thing.

My mother died two or three years later, and the knowledge of her financial affairs made it SO much easier to wind up her affairs. If it had remained a mystery to us, it would have taken a lot of time and detective work to get to the bottom of everything.

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that what my mother did is the "right" thing for everyone. It worked well in our case, given the particular circumstances and the particular people involved.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:52 PM
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,975,704 times
Reputation: 15649
We have everything about our finances on a thumb drive that we keep in the safe, along with all important documents about us, the house (deed, car titles, records of prop tax paid, etc etc). There is a second and third in line to act as DPA in case we parents wind up in serious condition or die together in an accident. (I worry most about our dogs, as none of our kids are really in a position to take them, but "hopeful instructions" are to keep them in the family.) Our kids know where the safe is and the combo. The revocable trust in addition to the wills (something I think everyone should have regardless of how well off they are or aren't) has put my mind at ease.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:53 PM
753 posts, read 706,453 times
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So glad that worked for you EscortRider. Can't let mine near anything related to money. Two (son and DIL) are more interested in what's in it for them and the other two are just clueless. My financial affairs are better off in the hands of other relatives to handle.

As far as end of life details those are in writing and that's that. But finanaces are strictly off limits.

Not exactly the way I pictured things going at this stage, that's for sure! A hard but learned lesson after hubby passed away.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:59 PM
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,482,868 times
Reputation: 29071
If my wife predeceases me and only then might I let one of my children (the one who's a venture capitalist with an MBA) in on my financial status. But until then it's none of the childrens' business. All I've ever told any of them is that I will never be a financial burden on them. Their mother, my ex, has been one enough for both of us. That's as much as any of them need to know.
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:01 PM
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our kids pretty much know our situation. no reason we have for them not to ,especially since some are our partners in the real estate business.
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:03 PM
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,396 posts, read 9,143,473 times
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I let them know that we can't afford to bail them out (one in particular).
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:08 PM
143 posts, read 132,678 times
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My late mother was very reluctant to share financial data, not that she did not trust us but rather that she was a very private person in most matters. Because my father traveled for his job, my mother handled the banking and other accounts. When my mom died three years ago my father was in a panic. He told me he knew little about their finances and had not written a check in over 20 years. They were never wealthy, but had modest retirement accounts and some investments. A day or two of reviewing paper trails and I had a good picture of where he stood. My dad has put me on as a signator for all of his accounts. I pay his bills and keep my sister informed of any major transactions.

I have several friends who have had siblings either try or successfully divert resources from their elderly parents. I can certainly understand the reluctance to share data and access in some circumstances.
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:46 PM
Location: Las Vegas
13,888 posts, read 25,323,560 times
Reputation: 26385
Both of my parents kept their financial matters very secret. Made no sense because I was their caregiver. My mom never gave up the reins even when she knew she was incapable of keeping up with things. I took nothing from them and paid for everything myself and in retrospect, I should have taken their money to pay for their care.

Consequently, all the life insurance they had paid for decades lapsed and there were no insurance pay outs. Mom didn't pay the bills. The premiums were nothing and I would have been glad to take it over but that would have made too much sense.

I can understand not wanting your kids to know but make sure SOMEONE knows. Your executor or someone you trust.

It took us years and lawyers to collect everything my parents had and to this day, we still have not collected everything. We still have some stocks out there and probably a few other things we haven't run across yet. We found most of their assets by going through the unclaimed property sites for all the places they lived.

In the big scheme of things, this was all completely ridiculous. It was time consuming, expensive, and a lot of work as well.

Dad died in 2003 and mom in 2009. We are still cleaning things up.
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