Why It's Vital to Open Difficult Conversations

Why are death and inheritance so hard to talk about?

Social custom teaches us that it’s rude to pry into our parents’ affairs or to raise subjects with our children that will make them uncomfortable.  Death and money to us are what sex was to the Victorians, uncomfortable and impolite to discuss, but with repercussions that make conversation necessary.

Home Instead Senior Care, a national provider of home care services, coined a name for this very important conversation – the 40-70 Rule. It means that children who have reached age 40 or whose parents are 70 need to start discussions about expectations and responsibilities regarding living arrangements, driving habits, health concerns and financial matters as the parents age.


The reluctance to talk goes both ways.  Boomers don’t want to be perceived as greedy or impolite if they raise the subject about their parents’ financial resources and inheritance issues. They don’t want to intrude on parents’ privacy and autonomy or perceived as waiting for their parents to die.

Their parents are often more willing to discuss end of life issues but are fearful of the emotional minefield of inheritance disclosure to children. Even though they know it’s important for their children not to be surprised after they die, parents still hesitate to initiate conversations about their plans and end-of-life preferences.

  • Money

    Talking about money can be a touchy subject for families. But it’s never about the money itself. It’s about how money shapes thinking about other things like relationships, power, rules, love, fairness, and a host of other expectations and attitudes. 

    Money Love & Legacy gets to the heart of these concepts and helps you navigate through these mindsets to get conversations going with love and respect.

  • Entitlement

    Entitlement is a one-way mindset that focuses on what we are owed instead of acknowledging that we have obligations in a relationship. Children raised with a sense of entitlement believe the world revolves them and their needs. 

    Money Love & Legacy helps parents understand that an inheritance reflects the quality of a relationship. It is not a legal obligation in the United States. Knowing that helps parents see with more clarity how they want to handle the distribution of their estate. 

  • Inheritance

    Inheritance often serves as a final report card for siblings. Childhood hurts can be revived and sibling relationships destroyed when heirs are faced with unequal portions of a parent’s estate. 

    Money Love & Legacy explores these difficult decisions faced by parents. The book shows you how to analyze and honor your deepest feelings about your inheritance plans.

  • Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is intentional. It’s a solo act and it is always possible. The end result of forgiveness may not be reconciliation which often is not achievable. However, deciding to forgive on your own can help ease pain through acceptance of the past. 

    Money Love & Legacy explores this concept in depth through the author’s own story. It provides guidelines for understanding your wound and provides the questions you need for healing it. 

  • Legacy

    We create legacy by how we live, not how we die. Our legacy is shaped by the values we hold, and how those values are reflected in the life we live. Most of all, it is about how we want to be remembered. 

    Money Love & Legacy shares stories of people who created their legacy by their connections to family and community. It will show you how to transmit your values through the decisions you make at the end of life. 

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Conversations between parents and children about money