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How to bring up estate planning with your parents

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Estate Planning |

If you don’t think your parents have an estate plan, you may be concerned about what the future holds. Perhaps you’re worried about disputes that you and your siblings could get into if you don’t have a plan to tell you how to distribute assets. Maybe you’re concerned about making medical decisions for your parents if they become incapacitated because you don’t know what type of treatment they would want.

All of this can be addressed in estate planning, but how do you start that conversation? Here are a few tips that can help.

Start early

People are worried about bringing this topic up because they don’t want to make it seem like they’re just interested in getting a financial inheritance as soon as possible. But starting the conversation early, when it’s clear that your parents still have years or even decades of healthy life ahead of them, shows that you’re not thinking about money.

Include other people

Ideally, this should be a conversation that involves you, your parents and other direct beneficiaries. For example, maybe you and your siblings want to sit down and talk to them together. This helps to demonstrate that you all care for your parents and that this emotional connection is the reason for the conversation.

Focus on key areas

One thing that can help is to ask direct questions. What would happen if you were incapacitated and I needed to make medical decisions? Who is supposed to get the family home? How did you set up your life insurance policy? Once you start ironing out some of these details with your parents, it can get the process underway.

Whether you are making an estate plan or assisting your parents as they set theirs up, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.