Many people find that merely thinking about creating their own estate plan is stressful. This anxiety can be amplified when individuals are concerned about the estate plan of their parents. This is understandable. After all, nobody likes to think about death. Yet, estate planning is amongst the most important things you, and your parents, can do for their loved ones.
If you’re wondering how to discuss estate planning with your loved ones, especially your parents, then you might be looking for a few pointers. First, understand that estate planning can help your parents with just about every aspect of their life. Sure, they can dictate how their assets will be distributed, but they can also indicate how they want to receive health care (if they want to receive it all), how financial matters should be handled, and even what their funeral will entail.
Then, start the process, recognizing that you’re going to need some patience. Trying to address all estate planning goals in one sit-down meeting is going to overwhelming and turn your parents off to the idea. Then, find a way to ease into the conversation. Put your parents’ interests first and ask how you can help them. Also let them know that you’re concerned about their future and the future of their estate. Empathize with them and really listen to their concerns and their vision for the future.
Before engaging in this conversation, though, you’ll want to make sure you’re being transparent with your siblings. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re unfairly influencing your parents, and you certainly don’t want to pressure them during your actual talk.
Also, there’s a lot to address in an estate plan. Try to avoid walking through every asset with your parents. This may come off as cold and be interpreted as you having more interest in assets and money than in your parents and their wishes.
Estate planning is a difficult topic for many families. Yet, with adequate preparation and an open dialogue, many can get through the process and come out with a brighter view of the future.