Tips on How to Talk to Your Elderly Parents About Their Estate Plan

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Tips on How to Talk to Your Elderly Parents About Their Estate Plan

It can be uncomfortable to bring up the subject of estate planning with your parents, but it is important not to put off the conversation hoping it will eventually get easier. Delaying a discussion about planning for incapacity and death too long could mean waiting until it is too late for them to engage in effective planning. It can help to frame the conversation as a practical one, stating that you want to make sure their wishes are honored and that they have taken necessary steps to make that happen.

Encourage your parents to think about and document the following:

  • Where information is located. This includes the names and contact information for financial advisors, insurance agents, accountants, and attorneys, as well as important documents like titles, Wills, Trusts, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
  • End-of-life wishes. Encourage your parents to consider their health care wishes, as well as documenting what they want to have happen to their bodies after death, whether they want to be organ donors, what their wishes are for funerals or memorial services, etc.
  • Power of attorney. Creating a legal power of attorney would allow a trusted family member or friend to step in and handle financial matters during your parents’ lifetimes. This can be an enormous benefit if someone becomes incapacitated.
  • Will and/or Trust. Everyone should take steps to ensure assets will pass according to their wishes at death. Creating Wills and/or Trusts, and evaluating and updating asset ownership and beneficiary designations can provide peace of mind for your parents – and for you.

Sometimes, parents are uncomfortable discussing the details of their estates with their children. Of course, that’s their right – they do not need to share more than they are comfortable sharing. But you should encourage them to talk to an estate planning attorney who can help them evaluate their options and make decisions that will make the process of managing their affairs easier and less costly when they die, or if they become unable to make their own decisions during their lifetimes.

To learn more about our team of experts and their ability to tailor a comprehensive estate plan for you, contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center today!