During the holidays, my brother-in-law asked the question during breakfast. His father had died about three years ago; he and his brother thought his dad’s paperwork was in order, until they had to go looking for specific documents.
Much to the surprise of my sister, brother-in-law and myself, our discussion with our parents revealed several items of information about my parent’s financial situation we were previously unaware of. We found out what financial institutions held their investments and who was the lawyer for their wills, as well as where the hold investment accounts.
When my Grandfather Taylor died, his lawyer had died before him, so the family had to find which law firm had taken over his files. That was time-consuming and stressful at a time when family members already had much on their minds and hearts.
Some people feel like asking these questions would be prying into their parent’s affairs, but the discussion with my parents showed that it can really help to improve family understanding of the basic financial and legal details they will eventually need to know.