Estate planning is easy to delay or forego altogether. In fact, about half of Americans over the age of 55 do not have even a simple will. If your aging parent is among that group, you may be looking for ways to encourage estate planning.
Having a comprehensive estate plan is important at any age. Still, because talking about end-of-life matters can be awkward, you may want to use a couple tricks to help your elderly mother or father start the estate planning process.
When broaching the subject of estate planning with your parent, you must be sensitive to his or her views on the matter. That is, your mother or father may have some valid reasons for not writing a will, setting up a trust or formalizing advance directives.
If your parent has reservations, starting slowly may be critical. Having a simple conversation about health care objectives, property distribution and other relevant topics may be a good idea. If your mother or father shuts down, take a break and revisit the matter later.
You likely know what is important to your elderly parent. By tapping into his or her values, you may encourage the estate planning process. For example, if your parent does not like medical procedures, you may start the estate planning conversation with health care directives and leave property distribution for later.
Thinking about your parent’s values may help you frame the estate planning conversation in a way that is meaningful to him or her. Nevertheless, because your parent may be uncomfortable discussing estate planning topics, you should not expect immediate progress.