How to talk about death and finances with your elderly parents: a practical guide

How to Talk About Death and Finances With Your Elderly Parents: A Practical Guide


Welcome to our new series “Uncomfortable Money Conversations,” where we tackle tricky financial topics or situations. Today we explore how to talk to your parents about death and finances without appearing interested in money.

The need for a difficult conversation

Talking about death and finances with loved ones can be an uncomfortable conversation, but necessary to avoid future stress. Melisa Gotto, after experiencing the difficulties of her father's death, began talking to her mother about how she planned to live the rest of her life and prepare for her own death.

Approach the subject with compassion

Gotto emphasizes the importance of approaching these discussions with compassion and empathy, understanding that it's not easy for everyone to talk about their own mortality. She advises making a list of everything you want to ask so you don't have to revisit the topic multiple times.

Advice from a financial expert

Jan G. Valecka, certified financial planner, recommends starting the conversation about the loved one's benefit. It's less about talking about money and more about sharing wishes and making sure important documents are accessible after a death.

It’s crucial to discuss creating a will, health guidelines, and even usernames and passwords for digital accounts. Valecka adds that it is also important to know details such as the place of marriage to facilitate certain administrative procedures after death.

A call to preparation

The experiences Gotto and Valecka share highlight the importance of being prepared and having those uncomfortable conversations well before they become necessary. This can not only ease the burden on loved ones after a death but also ensure that the wishes of the deceased are respected.

This proactive approach can transform a potentially stressful time into a manageable transition, highlighting the importance of communication and preparation in end-of-life matters.


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How to Talk About Death and Finances With Your Elderly Parents: A Practical Guide

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