Discussing estate planning with your parents may not be the most comfortable conversation, but it is an important one. Approaching this topic respectfully is one way to make your parents’ wishes clear for years to come.
It is important to know how to navigate this sensitive subject.
Pick the right timing
Timing plays a significant role in broaching the subject of estate planning. You should choose a moment when your parents feel relaxed and free from distractions. Avoid bringing it up during family gatherings or when they are already stressed about other matters.
Express your concerns
Start by expressing your concerns. Explain that you want to make sure people know what their wishes are so people can distribute their assets as they intend. Emphasize that your intention is to support them in making informed decisions.
Engage in active listening throughout the conversation. Let your parents share their thoughts, concerns and preferences. This will not only show respect but also provide you with valuable insights into their wishes.
Introduce the basics
If your parents are unfamiliar with estate planning, introduce them to the basics. Explain what a will is and why it is important. You can also touch on topics like power of attorney and healthcare directives. Keep the conversation simple and straightforward, avoiding jargon.
Emphasize family harmony
Highlight how proper estate planning can prevent conflicts among family members. Mention that it can help avoid disputes over assets and reduce the potential for strained relationships.
Offer your support
Let your parents know that you are willing to assist them throughout the estate planning process. Whether it is researching options, finding professionals or gathering necessary documents, your support can make the process less daunting for them.
Respect their decisions
During the conversation, it is important to respect your parents’ decisions, even if you do not necessarily agree with them. Remember that their estate plan should reflect their wishes, not yours.
After the initial conversation, follow up periodically to check on their progress. Estate planning is an ongoing process, and your parents may need time to update their plans as circumstances change. One of these changes may include moving houses, which 4% of Americans age 65 and up did from 2019 to 2020. No matter what happens in the upcoming years, they should remember to add that information to their estate plan as soon as possible.
Discussing estate planning with your parents shows your love and concern and can prevent them from worrying about the future. By opening up this topic, you can ultimately promote family harmony during what is often a challenging time.