The answer is “yes.” If your parents have yet to create an estate plan, then you must try to broach the topic with them. Why? Here are just a few reasons:
- Without an estate plan, your parents’ assets could be subjected to creditors and intestate succession, which could contravene their wishes for how their assets are distributed.
- Your parents’ healthcare and financial decisions could end up being left in the hands of someone they don’t trust if they don’t have an appropriately thorough estate plan in place.
- Your parents’ assets might be blown on long-term care that with sound planning could be covered by Medicaid.
But how do you talk to your parents about estate planning?
There are some tips that you can utilize to make this conversation easier. Let’s briefly look at some of them:
- Have the conversation while your parents are still healthy so that they don’t feel like you’re just having the conversation because you expect them to pass away soon and you want to secure your place in their estate plan.
- Tell family members what you’re doing to avoid the perception of impropriety. By doing so, you can prevent any unwanted arguments with your family members. You might also get a helping hand from some of those family members.
- Try starting the conversation with a news story or the story of a family member or friend as it relates to estate planning. This can be a great way to ease into the conversation.
- Ask about your parents’ values and focus on them. Your parents are much more likely to be engaged and active in the conversation if they’re talking about things that are important to them. And your parents have worked hard to build their estate. They should have the opportunity to leave a legacy, regardless of its size. Help them realize that.
- Actively listen and ask follow-up questions as needed. This can help the conversation gain momentum and ensure that your parents are considering everything that is important to them and the estate planning process. If your parents can’t answer a question, that’s okay. You can always revisit it or wait to address the matter with an attorney.
- Don’t try to wrap the conversation up in one talk. Discussing estate planning and thereby confronting mortality can be difficult. Be understanding of this fact and don’t rush your parents to talk about topics that make them uncomfortable. After all, doing so may backfire and leave you struggling to move the conversation forward.
- Take notes so that you and your parents can refer to them later on. This will help ensure that you’re able to clearly articulate your parents’ wishes for their loved ones and their estate. Your notes may help an attorney create the strong estate plan that your parents need.
Help is available
A lot of people avoid talking about estate planning because they’re afraid of confronting their own mortality. This is understandable, and something that you should keep in mind as you start talking to your parents about their estate plan.
If after having those conversations you think that your parents could benefit from legal assistance, then please consider reaching out to a compassionate law firm that is focused on helping people secure their futures and their estates. By obtaining assistance, your parents may be able to develop a sound plan to ensure that their interests, their loved ones, and their estate are as fully protected as possible.