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Discussing estate planning with your parents

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Estate Planning

For many adult children, there will come a time where they will care for their parents. This role reversal may be the result of an illness, serious injury or because they are elderly and nearing the end of their life.

While these are all reasons to initiate a conversation about getting their affairs in order with an estate plan, they are also the reason to have an estate plan already in place. As such, it is important for adult children to understand how to tackle the topic of estate planning with their parents.

Your parents’ estate plan

Whether it has been a topic of discussion previously or not, discussing estate planning with your parents is not always an easy feat. This is often because the topic of death or incapacity is not an easy conversation to have.

As current statistics indicate that roughly 33% of Americans currently have an estate plan in place, this might suggest that many avoid or choose to wait to draft an estate plan later in life.

But without an estate plan in place, you, as their adult child, will have no idea what their wishes are if your parent’s health drastically changes. Additionally, if they pass suddenly, you won’t be aware of their wishes when it comes to their finances, property distribution or even their funeral.

Keep an open line of communication

As much as it is difficult for you to bring up estate planning to your parents, it is just as difficult for them to consider major decisions after their passing. No one wants to think about their death, which is why it is important to treat this conversation with care and love. In fact, this process should be considered an act of love, as it helps empower your parents when it comes to making major decisions for themselves.

When helping your parents through the process, it is important to create a checklist off various factors that need to be discussed and figured out. Often, this includes the creation of several documents, such as a will, powers of attorney and health care proxies. Additionally, trusts and living wills should be considered and created if determined to be beneficial or necessary.

If your aging or elderly parents have not established an estate plan, it is important to bring the topic up and find ways to support them through the process. Additionally, a legal professional can help answer any questions and help with the creation of an estate plan that best meets the needs and wishes of your parents.