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Communicating Later Life Plans

It can be difficult for families to initiate discussions about important topics such as retirement preparedness, eldercare and estate planning, but a recent survey by Fidelity Investments has found that children are more prepared to help out than parents might think.

On the subject of money, although a majority of parents (93%) feel it would be unacceptable to become financially dependent on their children, only 30% of children feel the same. When it comes to health, many children surveyed said they or a sibling would care for their parent if they become ill.

However, the study also found areas where parents need to speak up to ensure their wishes are heard, including with regard to appointing an estate executor.

Researchers found that although 92% of parents expect one of their children will assume the role of executor of the estate, when asked, more than one in four (27%) of the kids identified as filling this role didn't know this. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 55% of parents expect the oldest child to be executor.

"No matter how much wealth a family has accumulated, discussions about estate planning are essential to ensure the wishes of parents are carried out," said Chris McDermott, senior vice president of Private Wealth Management at Fidelity.

"Multigenerational planning is not the exclusive domain of high net worth families,” he added. “Understanding your parents' goals and expectations—and having an agreed-upon plan, including the role each family member plays—helps ensure more positive financial and emotional outcomes for all."

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