Rather than focusing on Mother’s Day gifts that can be bought and paid for but might not last, some people are discussing something that can have a far-reaching impact: the gift of financial planning. Sometimes this is a gift that a mother can give to her children; in other cases, children can give this gift to their mothers.
Mothers: In a column about the importance of estate planning, the Washington Post‘s Michelle Singletary discusses how a fire at her mother’s home resulted not only in injury, but also in added stress since her mother had been reluctant to share her financial information and didn’t have a will or power of attorney. The lack of information made the process of overseeing her hospitalization more difficult.
Keeping your financial life in order and making sure that you or those you love can get this information is wonderful way to demonstrate your love and affection. As Singletary writes, you cannot assume that everyone knows your wishes and you have to consider that leaving no plans in place may not only cause your family stress; it can also be an issue for medical professionals and others whose job it is to help you should you need it. She lists necessary documents to prepare: “…bank statements, insurance policies (life and home), retirement and pension information, veterans records, your will, guardianship instructions and advance medical directives.”
Children: If you are concerned that your parents don’t have their affairs in order you can make it known that you are willing to help but you cannot force things. This is delicate subject so you will want to be sensitive. If possible, you can arrange for your mother or parents to have a session with a financial planner. It is possible that some people who would not want to work directly with their children on estate planning would be open to working with a third party.