Can Being A Tax Preparer Help In Your Finance Career Communicating With Your Siblings About Money and Aging Parents

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Communicating With Your Siblings About Money and Aging Parents

Many grown children are called upon to help their aging parents as life changes, but only 65 percent of siblings report that they talk about money with each other, according to research from Ameriprise Financial. Although only 15 percent of siblings have conflicts over money, when siblings do clash over finances, it’s often about their parents’ situation. Financial conversations between siblings become inevitable as siblings manage their parents’ financial affairs, such as estate planning, health care, retirement income, and wills.

In case you have shared responsibilities with your siblings in the future, it is important to make sure your family is on the same page. Here are some tips to help you and your siblings have civil conversations about family money matters.

Put aside your differences. When your parents need help, don’t waste time rehashing old family feuds. Stay in check if you’re tempted to fall into old patterns of behavior that can alienate older siblings. You may not be able to control how your siblings behave, but you can control your own actions.

Determine the main priorities. You will achieve more, and potentially less, when everyone is committed to common goals. Assess the financial matters that you and your siblings will need to manage together. If your parent’s safety is the main concern, find an agreement on the support and services they need to stay safely in the family home. If it’s time for your parents to move into an assisted living facility, put your energy into finding a solution.

Schedule time to talk. Schedule regular visits with your siblings to discuss pressing issues related to caring for your parents, including how finances are managed. Frequent conversations can help decrease anxiety and improve collaboration. Ongoing dialogue will help prevent misunderstandings from exploding into full-blown battles and help keep your parents’ best interests at the forefront.

Divide and conquer. It is important to establish responsibilities, understanding that each sibling can contribute different amounts of time, money, and expertise. Be upfront about what you can reasonably handle and be open to taking on more tasks if you have the ability. Keep in mind that responsibilities may change over time as circumstances change for you and your siblings.

Be open to advice. Bringing outside sources into your inner circle can help provide unbiased guidance as you enter this new phase of life. Your parent’s tax preparer, financial planner, and other trusted advisors can provide an important bridge to understanding their current financial situation. Once you’re ready to plan the next steps for your family, consider working with a single financial advisor. This approach allows the advisor to help you create a comprehensive plan that addresses everyone’s needs and concerns.

Money conversations can be emotional and difficult to initiate, but keep in mind that there are benefits to having open communication. Families who are willing to address money-related issues tend to have more confidence in their ability to handle financial challenges and work toward their goals.

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