All About Estates

Family Conversations and Broken Telephone

Fidelity Investments  released their third survey “Family and Finance” in June 2016. They interviewed families with a parent over age 55 and having an adult child over age 25.

The key findings are very interesting. What parents want and what their children THINK they want is very different. 4 in 10 families surveyed disagreed on the roles and responsibilities they think their children should assume.

Estate Execution:  Over 90% of parents expect their children will assume the role of executor. Twenty seven percent of the children did not know this. Furthermore 55% of parents expect it will be the oldest child who will assume this function.

Caregiving: 72% of parents expect one of their children will assume long –term care responsibilities.  40% of their children who were identified to fill this role, did not know this.

Managing Finances: 69% of parents expect one of their children to help manage their finances. More than 1/3 of children identified as filling this role, did not know this.

While I am an advocate of ‘having the talk’ the survey found disagreement of when ‘the talk’ should occur. Survey says: For those families that have the talk, respondents felt that the conversations were inadequate. Areas where they did not correspond included will and estate planning (69% of parents believe they discussed this with their children but more than half of the children say this topic was not discussed). Similarly there was a 30% disagreement as to where the important paperwork (wills, POA’s) are kept.

While families may not all be hearing the same things regarding elder care issues and expectations, the survey did report that 93% of children who have had  any discussion with their parents regarding these issues reported a ‘greater peace of mind’ while 95% of parents reported feeling this way.

Take away message. Start the conversation, have the talk and know where the important papers are kept!

About Audrey Miller
About: Audrey Miller, Managing Director of Elder Caring Inc. has over 30 years social work and rehabilitation experience working with older individuals and their families. She advises the financial, insurance, legal and business communities regarding elder care issues. Audrey is a recognized expert in her field. Email: