By Cameron Huddleston
Do you expect your parents to leave you a financial legacy? Nearly half of working-age Americans assume that they will receive an inheritance that will support them later in life, according to a recent survey by financial services company HSBC.
Perhaps the bigger question, though, is how to even approach this topic with your parents. “No matter how you look at this, it’s such a sensitive issue,” said Gwen Morgan, author of the “What If … Workbook,” a guide that helps people give loved ones necessary information if anything happens to them.
You don’t want to appear greedy by asking your parents, “Do I have an inheritance?” But, you do need answers to certain questions to ensure that your parents’ financial wishes are carried out and there is a smooth transition of wealth and assets.
Here’s how to approach this touchy subject and get the information you need.
HOW TO START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT YOUR INHERITANCE
The burning question on your mind might be how much money you’ll get in your inheritance from your parents. However, you shouldn’t ask how much you stand to inherit because the amount can change over your parents’ remaining lives, said Chris Blackmon, a certified public accountant with wealth management firm Biggers Blackmon LLC. Plus, you don’t want your parents to mistake your question as a sense of entitlement, he said. Instead, you should start by asking your parents about whether they have an estate plan.
You can say, “I don’t want to know the numbers. I just want to be able to follow your instructions out of love,” said Saul Simon, a certified financial planner and author of “Simon Says: Love Your Legacy.” It’s important that your parents know that you want to know what they want if something happens to them, he said.