The next conversation that you should have with your parents is what planning have you done, and where do you keep all of your important documents. These documents could include a will, trust document, deeds to any property, powers of attorney, healthcare documents, living wills, etc. But more importantly, is the basic conversation of where do they keep everything?
I have had conversations in passing with my mother about where their important papers were filed, who their accountant is and what my role is in their estate plan. But when a friend’s mother recently passed, and I watched her trying to find everything, I realized that I had not paid enough attention. Basics questions, such as where do my parents keep their checkbooks and banking information? Which banks to they use? Do they have a safety deposit box and where would it be?
These conversations are uncomfortable and awkward. If your parents are uncomfortable discussing what their plan is, or the extent of where they bank, where their investments are held, etc., try another approach. Just ask for them to let you know where to look if something happens to them. Is everything kept in one location? Is it a home safe, a filing cabinet, a box or in a desk? Keep the conversation simple, but meaningful.