Why it's important to share financial information with your kids

Why it's important to share financial information with your kids
PHOTO: Reuters

On 25 July, 2017 Star Lifestyle featured an article - "The necessity of sharing financial information", which primarily dealt with the importance of sharing financial information between spouses. A very close relative of mine passed away recently and the problems her children are facing regarding their parent's assets made me think that the topic is important enough to revisit.

Reema (not her real name) passed away and her husband had pre-deceased her a few years earlier. Their three children, two of them living overseas, were left behind as orphans.

Unfortunately, Reema, had not shared information regarding assets with her children and in some cases, had made another resident relative a nominee to one of her accounts due to the absence of her children in the country.

Very often we tend to take life for granted. We never think that once we pass away, our children would be left at the mercy of relatives!

This happened to Reema's children who were left clueless about her investments, the number of bank accounts she held, who the nominees were and most importantly, the absence of a financial document detailing all her assets.

Fortunately, banks have been helpful in sharing information within the legal framework they were allowed to. The process of getting succession certificates is underway, but becoming long drawn out for the following reasons -

The non-resident children did not have Bangladeshi passports or National Identities to open accounts with the local banks. This again needed to be done to receive the inherited money. All this was much time consuming and still on-going. Meanwhile, her deposit accounts have been frozen, earning no interest.

Reema had made the nominee to her main account someone other than her children. The nominee who is understandably not willing to accept the money into her account due to tax implications requested the bank in writing to pay directly to the legal heirs of late Reema. The nominee also had to give in writing a specific undertaking indemnifying the bank from any future claim.

My purpose of highlighting the above is that we have to ensure during our lifetime that our children, especially the ones who have opted to become citizens of a foreign country, need to have Bangladeshi passports, be nominees to our investments and accounts and have full knowledge of all our wealth, including property.

Due to the absence of having a will under the Islamic property law, we need to keep in mind that any property we have may be gifted to them during our lifetime.

Having said the above, we must also remember to put a caveat to ensure that the property remains with us till we pass away. As we all know, money helps, but it can also be the instrument of turning normal people into monsters! I know of many cases where children have been known to throw parents out of their homes, siblings have tried to kill each other or have cut off relationships.

What we fail to remember is wealth is only a material thing; we do need it, but not to the extent of it becoming a thorn to us. As it is said when you die you go to the grave only with a piece of cloth wrapped around you.

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