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Six tips for talking to your parents about estate planning

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Estate Planning & Elder Law

As your parents age, you might find yourself worried about the future of their health care, their financial decisions and the distribution of their assets upon their passing. Ultimately, figuring out how to deal with those issues falls on your parents, but if they’re not acting, then you might wonder if it is okay to bring up the topic of estate planning with them.

The answer is a resounding “Yes.”

You just have to be careful with how you approach the topic and discuss it with your parents so that you don’t make them overly uncomfortable or give them a perception of wrongdoing.

How to talk to your parents about estate planning

Since talking about estate planning requires consideration of our own mortality, discussing it with your parents can be tough. But here are some tips that might help you along the way:

  • Tell other family members about your intentions so that you can get additional support and don’t give the appearance of trying to hide your conversation with your parents, the latter of which could give the perception of undue influence.
  • Find a story or personal account that you can turn to as a way to begin the conversation.
  • Ask about your parents’ priorities so that you know how to steer the conversation.
  • Expect the conversation to be ongoing and don’t try to rush it.
  • Start the conversation when your parents are still healthy so that they’re more receptive to the topic.
  • Take notes so that you can help your parents formulate their thoughts if they decide to seek legal assistance.

What if your parents have estate planning questions that you can’t answer?

Don’t worry. There are resources available to help steer your parents through the estate planning process. By directing them toward those resources, you can better position your parents to take the action they need to protect their interests and their assets.