Talking to parents about estate planning can be difficult. It is, at its core, a conversation about what will happen when they are gone. Uncomfortable, for sure…but a conversation that needs to be had nonetheless. Contrary to popular belief, estate planning doesn’t have to be a “doom and gloom” topic. It should be about empowering your parents to make decisions for themselves, and ensure their affairs are in order so they don’t pass down a disaster to their loved ones. However, if you find yourself struggling with how to bring up the subject with your parents, let us recommend a few strategies for starting this conversation.
Do Your Homework
When you’re ready to sit down and speak with your parents about estate planning, make sure you do your homework ahead of time. It’s important to do some research: which documents, at the minimum, should your parents have in place, and what might your role be in ensuring their wishes are executed?
Have a goal for the conversation, and prepare yourself for a reluctance to talk about this topic. Perhaps put together some talking points or a checklist, so if the conversation does go awry, you can steer it back on track. You likely won’t discuss everything in one conversation, so setting expectations and starting with just the basics can keep the conversation palatable for your parents.
Have a Seamless Opener
A good segue into this conversation is to ask your parents about their plans for retirement, or tell them that you have recently begun the process of estate planning for your own family, and were hoping they could tell you about some of the decisions they made in their plan. As the discussion progresses, ask questions that include whether they have a current will, a power of attorney, or a living will. If your parents have already started the estate planning process, you can ask for more details. If they haven’t, this is a great opportunity to help them search for an estate planning attorney who can help them draft up their wishes.
Make it a Family Affair
Before you start the conversation with your parents, make sure to involve any siblings you may have. They may want to be a part of the conversation, or they may have specific questions that they’d like you to ask. By involving the entire family, you can rest assured that everyone will be on the same page, which can prevent issues when the plan needs to be put into motion. It can also give family members a chance to ask each other about the decisions they have made, so there is a deep level of understanding that will prevent any resentments or animosity from arising in the future.
Contact the Hailey-Petty Law Firm
Anything can happen at any time. By making sure your parents have a plan in place, you can ensure that they will age on their own terms. A solid legal plan will give you comfort in knowing that your parents will receive the care they want, and that their final wishes are executed seamlessly. Remember, you are not alone when it comes to tackling this difficult conversation. At Hailey-Petty Law we are always here to help you with any estate planning needs. Contact us today with any questions, or to schedule a free 30-minute consultation to get to know us better.