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How to talk to your elderly parents about estate planning

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2018 | Blog

Mortality is a difficult topic for almost everyone, and it is not something that many people are comfortable bringing up in conversation, especially with loved ones. However, if you have elderly parents, discussing the future of their assets after they pass away and how they wish to manage their affairs is a critical issue that you should not avoid.

Although the conversation may be tough, taking the appropriate steps to develop a comprehensive estate plan for your elderly parents can save a lot of heartache and headaches in the long run. With the following tips, you can start the conversation and emerge with peace of mind and confidence knowing that your parents’ needs and wishes are being taken into account.

How to open the conversation

Although this is not an easy topic to broach, it can be helpful to put yourself at the center of the discussion. For example, you can start by telling your parents that you wish to discuss estate planning matters such as wills and trusts because you are concerned that you are not aware of their wishes. If your parents know that your concern is in being able to successfully carry out their wishes after their deaths, they may be more willing and open to assist you in this goal. Taking the initiative to open the conversation may be a productive first step for your parents, especially if neither of them has previously considered what they need to do to plan for asset distribution after their deaths.

Topics to cover in your conversation

Even if your parents are not wealthy and do not possess many assets, you can educate them about the importance of estate planning for everyone. If there is no comprehensive estate plan in place, with documents such as a will and a trust to manage asset distribution, you can explain to your parents that there may be expensive costs for probate. Without directives, family members may be at a loss for how to proceed, and conflict can result. There may also be costly tax burdens that family members will have to take on if there is no estate plan that provides for tax reduction.

While talking about mortality and your parents’ wishes after their deaths is not a fun conversation, it is a discussion that needs to happen before it’s too late. If you address the benefits of having an estate plan, your parents are likely to understand how it can help both them and you as well as your family members in the long run.