"Most older adults don't need to discuss finances with their children," said Dr. Sara Qualls, Kraemer Family Professor of Aging Studies and director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
"Unless their health is slipping, or they cannot fully grasp the scope of their finances," she
said, "I don't assume that an adult child should be involved in their finances."
Conversely, it is helpful for seniors to inform adult children about financial decisions they have made, and give them phone numbers to attorneys, certified professional accountants, or give out a spreadsheet with such details â€" in case it's needed during a crisis.
But, unless there's a crisis, Qualls
said seniors are likely to seek financial advice from a professional â€" not their children.
said, "it's appropriate to ask for emergency information at any age," because families need to know such information.Just as siblings need to know if you've named them as guardian of your children in your will.
"We tend to have boundaries within generations â€" discussing money and sex are the two biggest boundaries," she
If aging seniors have not given their adult children the basics of information that would be necessary during an emergency, Qualls recommends that children ask permission to make a spreadsheet of details, such as financial institutions, the people they do business with, phone numbers, accounts, etc.
"As people approach awareness of their own mortality," Qualls
said, "that is a good time to have a (verbal) check up on what would be done during a crisis."
cautions that adult children need to be sensitive to the intimacy of disclosing financial information.
"Value your parents and their right to live by their own values," she