What Your Adult Children Should Know About Your Money

This content is provided courtesy of USAA.

Someday, your grown children may be thrust into a challenging job: Helping you manage your financial life. The more they understand your situation today, the easier that job will be tomorrow.

Set aside time to talk to your adult children about all they need to know about your financial matters. When should you have that conversation?

"I think your health could drive the decision," says JJ Montanaro, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner with USAA. "Maybe you could make it part of the Medicare decision at age 65. Let the kids know what's happening on a broader basis as you tap those benefits."

This checklist can help you cover the bases — and even uncover some things you can do now to make life easier for all of you.


What They Should Know

How To Help Them Help You


§  Where your money comes from, including Social Security, pensions, rentals, reverse mortgages and distributions from retirement accounts.

§  Arrange for income to be directly deposited into your checking account.


§  Where you bank.

§  Checking, savings, certificates of deposit and credit cards.

§  Outstanding loans.

§  Consider opening a joint checking account so your child can pay your bills with your money.


§  Where you hold your investments.

§  Location of stocks and bonds held in certificate form.

§  What you paid for stocks, bonds and mutual funds that aren't a part of your retirement accounts (important for filing taxes when they're sold).

§  Consider centralizing your investments with one company.

§  Deposit investment certificates into a brokerage account.

Retirement Accounts

§  Accounts left behind with previous employers.

§  Pensions you're already receiving and those you're entitled to in the future.

§  Consolidate your retirement accounts using IRA rollovers.

§  Update your beneficiary designations.


§  Policy information: life, health, long term care, auto, home and umbrella.

§  Coverage provided by current and former employers.

§  Make sure you've covered all the risks.

§  Update your life insurance beneficiaries.


§  Where you keep past tax returns and other records.

§  Accountant's name and contact information (if you have one).

§  Review recent returns with your children so they're familiar with your tax issues.


§  Utilities, cellphones, gym memberships and other ongoing expenses.

§  Pay bills with a recurring charge to your credit card or automatic draft from your checking account.


§  Contact information for primary care doctor and specialists.

§  Location of medical bills and health-related documents.

§  Health history, medicine you're taking, allergies and other details.

§  With the help of a lawyer, create a health care power of attorney that empowers them to make medical decisions.

§  Ask a lawyer to help you write a living will, which records your wishes about measures to extend your life.

§  Give health care providers permission to share your information with your children.


§  Mortgages.

§  If you own a home, where you keep your property deed.

§  If you rent, where you keep the lease agreement.

§  Names of trusted repair services in your area.

§  Have housing-related expenses like neighborhood association fees and property taxes automatically deducted from your bank account.

Estate Planning

§  Where you keep your will, power of attorney, trust and other estate planning documents.

§  Name of the attorney who drafted them.

§  Details on any plans you've made for your funeral.

§  Have an attorney review your documents every few years.

§  Create a letter of instruction — an informal document that expresses your wishes regarding funeral arrangements.


§  Where your safe deposit box is and where you keep the keys.

§  Safe combinations.

§  Location of valuables hidden in your home.

§  Home security alarm codes.

§  Authorize children to have access to your safe deposit box.

§  Give their names to your home security service.



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