Father’s Day Questions to Avoid Arguments

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy

Here are some tips to avoid arguments over money on Father’s Day. The worst arguments happen when dad (or mom) is no longer in the picture. See which of these three situations most resembles your own.

Situation #1.

You are spending time with your family on Father’s Day. You’ve done everything you can to avoid arguing with your brothers and sisters.

Suddenly, your brother asks, “What are we going to do with your money, dad?”

What do you do?

First, remember that not all families are the same. Your father may not wish to talk about money. He may worry about dying. There is no point in having an argument.

So, rephrase the question. Ask “Dad, what's going to happen to us if we can’t answer these questions?”

Important things to ask dad:

• Do you have a will?

• Where can we find the original will?

• Who are the executors?

• Are the will and power of attorney documents up to date?

• Do you know an experienced estate lawyer?

• Who prepares your tax returns?

• Is there a shareholders agreement for the business?

• When was the last time a professional reviewed the estate tax plan?

• Is there an up-to-date inventory of assets somewhere?

• What about passwords and bank deposit keys?

• Is there any life insurance?

• What about Fido?

Situation #2

Dad, like many others, is alone this Father's Day. He waits for your call.

Your brother and sister do not speak to dad anymore, and you live in California. Your dad is selling his house to go to a retirement home.

Important things to ask dad:

• Is there something I can do to help?

• What happens when you can no longer manage your money?

• Are you okay that the government can take control of it?

• Have you given a power of attorney for property to persons you trust?

• While in the hospital, if you cannot do so, who will make health decisions?

• Are there signed notes about your loans to family members?

• Are these loans forgiven when you are gone?

• Is this in your will?

• Where will you keep all of your important papers?

• Who has your medical records in case of an emergency?

Situation #3

Your dad has started a business. He is divorced from mom and recently separated from his common law spouse. You are visiting and are worried about his health.

Important things to ask dad:

• Have you signed a cohabitation/separation agreement with your spouse?

• Do you have support obligations to other children or a spouse?

• Is there life insurance in place for this?

• Do you have a buy/sell agreement with your business partner?

• Who will run or sell your business if you do not have a will?

• Are all your designated beneficiaries on registered plans up to date?

Final Point

This Father’s Day should be relaxed when you ask questions.

Do not expect immediate answers. Don’t make it come across like it’s a cross-examination. If you sense dad does not wish to talk, he may need more time.

Offer to help him stick with a plan. He wishes to protect himself and his family.

It’s what every father is supposed to do.