Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning

Talking about estate planning is often difficult and unpleasant as it relates to us or someone close to us, passing away. However, it is a topic that should not be put off and avoided.

It is important to talk to your parents about their estate plan as it gives them and you a peace of mind, knowing what the parents’ wishes are and what their children can do to help fulfill them. So, how does one begin talking to a parent about estate planning, without hurting their feelings?

Here are some tips.

  1. Don’t start by talking about death.

Instead of starting the conversation by talking about death, and creating a plan for after death, begin by talking about doing financial planning, as well as health planning. Having documents such as general durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney executed is just as important as having a last will and testament. Yet, by talking about this form of planning first, makes the further steps of planning easier to discuss.

  1. Include all siblings.

You want to make sure that the entire family is on the same page and is fully aware of the decisions made by your parents. This helps to avoid arguments and misunderstandings after the death of the parent, as to what the parent’s true intentions were when creating the estate plan.

When parents create an estate plan they want to divide their estate and avoid confusions and problems after death. However, often, that is not what happens. If any children are unaware of the estate plan, they may try to create issues during distributions, if they disagree with any part of the plan or feel left out during the planning phase.

  1. Allow the parent(s) to lead the conversation.

You do not want them to feel like you are pushing or forcing them to make certain decisions. While it is a good idea to explain the various documents and options available to them (if you are knowledgeable in the topic), allow them to have the final say in every decision they make. As a child, it is your responsibility to accept the decisions made by your parent, rather than criticize it and pressure them to change their mind.

  1. Do not make it all about money.

If you begin the conversation or keep it focused solely on money, the parents may feel uncomfortable and under pressure when making decisions. Also, making your parents give specific dollar amounts will make them feel unsettled. Therefore, to have a fruitful conversation, you should keep it focused on general planning and what the parents’ overall wishes are after they pass away, rather than keep asking “what percentage do you want X to get?” or “how much of special bequests will you leave for Y?” These inquiries may bring the children’s intentions to question.

Having a third-party present to help with leading the discussion and explaining the different options available, makes the topic easier to discuss, also creating satisfactory results for all parties included. At Sobon Law LLC, we make it our priority to help your family create a successful estate plan, taking the burden off your shoulders, Call or text us today, at 216-586-4246 to schedule an appointment.

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