personal finance  |  june 4, 2024

Important Estate Planning Conversations Retirees Need to Have With Their Adult Children

Talking with your adult children about your future can benefit the whole family.


Key Insights

  • Create an agenda to help you stay on track during your discussions, and assign a family member to take notes.

  • Topics such as long-term care and powers of attorney should be a part of your conversations.

  • Discuss family members’ financial priorities and tax situations to help ensure you’re building an income and estate plan that will benefit both generations.

Lindsay Theodore, CFP®

Thought Leadership Senior Manager

Once retirees have successfully transitioned into retirement, it’s a good best practice to initiate an open dialogue regarding family financial planning topics with their adult children. These conversations are ideal to have when a retiree is five to 10 years into retirement, settled, and still healthy.

By this point, retirees have typically gained a firm grasp of their financial situation and income needs, and their children have likely had time to establish themselves, their careers, and their families.

Since all parties have now matured within their respective life stages, it may be a good time for parents to involve their children in estate planning and any other matters before needs arise.

Getting Started

Consider the following best practices for navigating discussions with your children:

  • Speak in person (or by video call), at times of low stress, low distraction,
    and—preferably—good health.

  • Lead the discussion. Be prepared to share as much as you feel comfortable disclosing but enough to make the conversation meaningful. While your children don’t need to know every intricate detail of your situation and intentions, the more you are willing to share, the more you will accomplish together.

Setting an Agenda

Covering these subjects can help you stay on track as you talk with your family. Encourage a family member to take notes, and then share them after each of your discussions to ensure you’re all on the same page.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to solve everything in one sitting. These conversations may be very new and different for all of you—both financially and emotionally. Taking the time to start the conversation, and establish lines of open and honest communication, will ultimately provide greater peace of mind for everyone.

*Sophia Ashebir, Alexa Balmuth, Samantha Brady, Lisa D’Ambrosio, Adam Felts, and Joseph Coughlin, 2024, “’I Haven’t Really Thought About It’: Consumer Attitudes Related to Long-Term Care,” Journal of Financial Planning 37 (2): 64–76.
**Genworth 2023 Cost of Care Survey.

This material has been prepared by T. Rowe Price for general and educational purposes only. This material does not provide recommendations concerning investments, investment strategies, or account types. It is not individualized to the needs of any specific investor and is not intended to suggest that any particular investment action is appropriate for you, nor is it intended to serve as the primary basis for investment decision-making. T. Rowe Price, its affiliates, and its associates do not provide legal or tax advice. Any tax-related discussion contained in this material, including any attachments/links, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to any other party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please consult your independent legal counsel and/or tax professional regarding any legal or tax issues raised in this material.

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