Or yourself if you’re the Mom and Dad

Often children are afraid or embarrassed to ask their parents about their finances, or about the plans they’ve made for “old age.” Sometimes asking those questions inspires plans to be reviewed, corrected or changed. The intention is not to analyze your parents' financial status down to the last nickel and dime, but to cover the basics and make sure there are no surprises in their financial future -- or yours. Here are nine really important money questions to ask Mom and Dad:

1. How much money do they have -- in cash and investments?

2. How much income do you expect to have at retirement (including Social Security)?

3. Do you think they will need my support?

a. If so, how much?

4. What types of insurance do you have?

5. Do you have adequate medical coverage?

6. Do you have a plan for long-term care?

7. Do you have any special concerns?

It causes tremendous, and perhaps undo, stress if your parents are worried about outliving their savings. People are living longer than they had planned for themselves in Asking these questions may bring them, and you, comfort.

8. Do you have a complete list of all your accounts, passwords, financial institutions, and the phone numbers of your advisors, brokers, accountants and lawyers who have assisted you?.

Ask them for the location of any estate-planning documents, their safety deposit box (and the key!), and where they keep the original signed copy of their will.

Make sure your parents have an up-to-date will. These days, because it is so easy to pull together a will, it feels irresponsible for someone to die without a will, even if you have no estate to speak of. Having a will can prevent family fights and certainly take the burdens off those left behind.

9. Are the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies, 401(k) plans, etc. as you want them to be?

Critical is that your parents have signed a Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Directive for if they become incapacitated. A Healthcare Directive is your roadmap to what they want to done or what you can or should do.

History proves the difficulties and challenges that happen when one dies without a will. The following celebrities have done just that and you can investigate what happened to their estates:

• Abraham Lincoln: one of the most famous lawyers of our time and the sixteenth president of the United States.

• Martin Luther King, Jr.: civil rights leader and activist.

• Jimi Hendrix: one of the greatest guitar players of all time

• Pablo Picasso: famous artist.

• Howard Hughes: entrepreneur and billionaire

• Bob Marley: Jamaican singer/songwriter.

• Kurt Cobain: singer/songwriter and frontman for Nirvana.

• Tupac Shakur: rap artist and actor.

• Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono: entertainer turned U.S. Congressman.

• Barry White: soulful entertainer.

• Stieg Larsson: famous author.

• James Brown: singer known as the Godfather of Soul. (Quick disclaimer: Brown did sign a will but it is subject to litigation.)

• Steve McNair: former NFL quarterback and Pro Bowler.

• Nate Dogg: rapper and actor.

• Amy Winehouse: British singer/songwriter.

• Prince: multi-talented artist.

• Michael Jackson: the King of Pop.

(Quick disclaimer: Jackson's mother initially filed paperwork - much like Prince's sister - alleging that there was no will. A will was eventually discovered.)

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Updated: August 16, 2017