How do I start the conversation about finances with my mother-in-law even though she has paid all her bills on time so far?

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MIL lives with us. She is a very private person, is 86yo and in fairly good health. We ;have no idea the state of her finances, whether she has life insurance, what her wishes are as she ages and becomes more frail. I just don't know how to start the conversation without sounding like we expect her to die soon. She is getting more confused, has trouble remembering things, but so far has managed to pay her bills without our help.
Is it none of our business? My husband and I are really conflicted over this. Any ideas would be helpful.

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Since she is your MIL, it may be best if your husband asked his mother where she keeps her important papers, like her will and insurance policy's in case any thing happens, so he'll know where to look. Depending on the answers he gets, he can ask her if she needs help with anything, balancing her check book, does her will may need updating, POA and medical POA determined. If she's already having memory problems it's going to get worse. You need to have a plan in place for any medical emergency as well. What hospital or rehab does she want to go to, who can pay her bills while she's recovering. There is so much else to worry about when emergencies occur, take care of what you can now, and find a way to start the conversation. At some point she'll be glad not to have to worry about finances any more and you'll have the information to do it for her. Wish you the best.
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Your question brings back memories....we were in your exact shoes about ten years ago. It was awkward, but my husband and I, together, brought up the subject to my parents. It was easier with both of us broaching the subject.....and it made it less likely for my mother or father to resist. They did agree to talk about it, albeit reluctantly. Just be as sensitive and tactful as you can-----do it the way you'd like your children ( relatives) to talk to you one day. Once it's out in the open, the difficult part is past and you can start talking turkey.
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