A lot of people make the mistake of putting off estate planning until it’s too late. They don’t see the need for the process when they’re healthy, and when they fall ill they may not have the requisite mental capacity to create legally binding estate planning documents. In the worst instances, individual pass away unexpectedly without having ever created an estate plan.
This can put their assets at risk of falling into the wrong hands and being subjected to the costly and prolonged probate process.
If your parents are aging, then you’re probably worried that a similar fate will befall them and their estate. You might be wondering about how to broach the topic of estate planning with them.
Tips for talking to your parents about estate planning
This is a delicate topic, and one that’s often hard to bring up with your loved ones. But you might be doing your loved ones a favor by bringing up the matter. So, how are you going to address estate planning with your parents? Here are a few tips:
- Don’t wait too long: Waiting until your parents’ health is failing to talk about estate planning will give the wrong impression. It’ll make it look like you’re expecting them to pass away soon and that you’re only worried about an inheritance. This can throw up obstacles to effective discussions about estate planning. If you want to avoid that from happening, then start the conversation sooner rather than later.
- Find an in: Finding a way to start the conversation is the hardest part. Think about recent news stories that you’ve heard or personal accounts of friends or family members that are relevant. These can be great conversation starters that you can use to slide into the conversation that you’re wanting to have.
- Focus on values: As you ease into the conversation about estate planning, you should focus on what’s important to your parents. If you’re unsure of what your parents value, then you can simply ask them. Focusing on their priorities will engage them more fully in the conversation, thereby leading to a more productive discussion.
- Don’t expect quick resolution: There’s a lot to figure out when talking about estate planning. As such, you shouldn’t expect to wrap up the discussion in one talk. Expect that it’s going to take time.
- Take notes: Make sure to write down what your parents say so that you can more easily refer back to your discussions. While this will make it easier to re-engage in the conversation, it’ll also help provide a framework to an attorney who may later help your parents formalize their estate plan.
- Tell other family members: You don’t want to give the impression that you’re trying to persuade your parents to create their estate plan in a certain way. Therefore, it might be beneficial to tell your other family members about your intention to discuss estate planning with your parents. These individuals might even provide you with additional support in having those conversations, which can be quite valuable.
Know where to turn for help
Figuring out how to create a strong estate plan can be stressful. It can be even more stressful to try to convince your parents to engage in estate planning.
But this isn’t something that you have to figure out on your own. Dedicated legal professionals that know how to create custom-tailored estate plans are available to help you navigate your challenges so that you can ensure that you and your loved ones are as fully protected as possible under the circumstances.