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Tips for talking to aging parents about estate planning

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning is more important than many people realize. Sure, a lot of the focus is on how your assets are going to be divided once you pass away, but there are many other considerations that you’re going to have to make. This includes figuring out how to pay for long-term care, ensure that important financial decisions are protected, and that complex asset distribution plans are effectuated properly.

And as challenging as that can be to figure out for yourself, it may be just as challenging, if not more so, for your parents. Yet, their lack of estate plan can have negative ramifications that they don’t want, which is why it may be important for you to talk to your them about effective estate planning.

Tips for talking to your parents about estate planning

Broaching the topic of estate planning with your parents can be difficult. However, these tips might be helpful for you to get started:

  • Recognize that it’s going to take time: You can’t realistically expect a discussion about estate planning to be wrapped up in one conversation. By realizing that it’s going to take several talks to get through this topic, you’ll exercise the patience that your parents need to navigate the complexities involved with thinking through estate planning and its implications.
  • Focus on your parents’ priorities: The estate planning process should focus on what’s important to your parents. This may be treating children equally, or it may be to further a charitable endeavor. If you’re parents are struggling to identify their priorities, then help them think through who and what they want to support in the long-term.
  • Take notes: Since this conversation is going to take some time, it might be helpful for you to take notes that you can refer back to each time that you talk to your parents. This way you can circle back on issues that are important but may not have been fleshed out previously.
  • Be understanding: Talking about estate planning requires you to contemplate your own mortality. This isn’t easy for a lot of people to do. So, your parents may struggle to engage in the conversation. By being understanding, you can help put them at ease.
  • Find an in: It can feel awkward to bring up estate planning out of the blue. That’s why you might want to bring up a news story or a personal experience to help kickstart the conversation.
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late: Ideally, you’d start talking to your parents about estate planning while they’re still healthy. That way your motive is clear: you simply want to help your parents plan for their future. If you wait until your parents’ health is in decline, then it might seem like you’re only talking to them because your worried about what your inheritance will look like.

Consider having an attorney to refer your parents to

In the end, there’s only so much that you can say to your parents about estate planning before it starts to step into legal territory. When that happens, you should be prepared to refer your parents to a legal professional who can help them devise the estate plan that they need to bring their vision into reality.

Remember, though, that not all attorneys are created equally. Therefore, before recommending an attorney to your parents, you should carefully vet their options and choose those that you feel will give them the comprehensive estate planning representation that they need.