Life Advice



Ask Amy: Elder parents ponder full financial disclosure

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Neither my wife nor I came from money. But thanks to a lot of hard work, good choices – and luck – our children will come into money.

Both of our kids are grown, married to terrific partners, and on good career paths. My wife and I are in our late 60s and in good health and we're thinking about giving them a full picture of the extent of the potential estate when we're all together at the holidays.

Is there any reason not to do that? We trust both them and their spouses completely.

If so, how much information should we give? Should we give them specific dollar amounts for each account? Provide all account numbers? Should we provide copies of our wills?

There's no mystery to our wills. My wife and I each leave our estate to the other upon either of our deaths, and the remainder equally to each child once the surviving spouse dies. The amount is quite substantial now and likely to be more as time goes on.

I could also see updating the information every year just so they know where things stand.


I don't see any reason to have any mystery. I'd like to make it simple for them to sort things out when the time comes. Plus, it would help in their own financial planning.

What do you think?

– Doting Dad

Dear Doting: You’ve asked my opinion, and my opinion is that you should keep your specific financial affairs private until you have the qualified counsel of your financial planner and choose an executor (possibly one or both of your children, or perhaps a younger friend, niece or nephew).


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