When people sell funds from one family to another -- say, Fidelity to Janus -- they know they've triggered a taxable event. But when people sell one Fidelity fund and buy a different Fidelity fund, they don't realize that's taxable as well.

That's a winner all the way around.

Record-keeping is important. Document everything you do.

One of the biggest problems I see these days is when the children feel they have a right to an inheritance and a lot of times [they want to intervene on their parent's financial behalf] before they are ready and willing to do that. I know a lot of lawyers who say the first thing they do is take the parents into a room and ask them if they are ready for this.

I would encourage the children to be open. Ask your parents in general terms if they want some help discussing it, or in setting up a meeting to talk about it with a professional.

Always file your tax return on time, even if you don't have the money. The biggest penalty is late filing.

A lot of parents are very reluctant to share their financial history. They might have a wonderful relationship with their children emotionally, but when it comes to finances, not too many are always ready to talk about that.

The new rule is much more friendly to taxpayers. Only sales of more than $500,000 for married couples and $250,000 for single people have to be reported. So you don't need to keep records unless you think you home may sell for more than that amount.

There's no easy answer here. It's not like you can say (that) when the parent turns 72 they should automatically turn their finances over to their children.