As your parents get older, there’s a lot to think about. Among them are your parents’ potential long-term care needs and their overall estate planning. These are major issues for your parents to address, which can make it hard for them to get around to putting the protections in place that they need.
If you’re aware of their delay, you might be worried about their well-being and what the implications of their hesitations are for their estate’s assets. After all, long-term care can be expensive, quickly eating away at an estate, and a lack of estate plan may put assets at risk of falling into the wrong hands. That’s why you need to talk to your parents about estate planning.
Tips for talking to your parents about estate planning
- Pick the right time: Don’t wait until your parents’ health declines to start the estate planning conversation. This can send the wrong message. Instead, try to start talking to them about the need for a sound estate plan when they’re still healthy and they can devote the attention necessary to adequately address the matter.
- Include family members: Your parents might need a lot of support as they navigate the estate planning process. Including your siblings and other family members can provide that assistance. Additionally, by looping in family members, you can avoid the perception that you’re trying to force your parents to act in a certain way. This protects you from allegations of wrongdoing.
- Figure out what’s been done: It very well could be that your parents don’t seem interested in the estate planning process because they’ve already got something in place. Try to figure out what that is so that you can talk to your parents about the appropriateness of what they’ve already created. Many people think that a simple will is sufficient. Although that may be true, in many instances, there are other estate planning vehicles that provide greater benefits to everyone involved. So, make sure you’re discussing the breadth and depth of your parents’ existing estate plan.
- Find an in: One of the hardest parts of discussing estate planning with aging parents is simply figuring out how to start the conversation. You might want to reference something in the news related to estate planning or ask estate planning-related questions about someone you and your parents know. This can help you ease into the conversation in a low-pressure fashion.
- Focus on what’s important to your parents: Your parents are more likely to engage in the conversation if it’s focused on what’s important to them, whether that be supporting their children, motivating loved ones to achieve certain life goals, or supporting a charitable cause. So, try to get them talking about their priorities, help them identify what they want from their estate plan, and really listen to your parents to help set them on an estate planning path that’s right for them.
Sound help is within reach
As you have these conversations with your parents, there will probably be a time where you realize that you and your parents need further assistance. That’s where the help of an experienced estate planning attorney may prove beneficial. So, if you and your parents are ready to take the next step in the estate planning journey, or if you all simply want to learn more about estate planning options, now may be the best time to reach out to one of these attorneys to learn more.