As your parents grow older, it becomes increasingly important to have conversations about estate planning. This involves decisions about how those in charge need to distribute their assets and belongings after they die.
While these conversations might feel uncomfortable at first, they are important to ensure people respect their wishes and avoid potential conflicts.
Introduce the subject
To start the conversation, choose a comfortable and quiet setting where everyone can focus without distractions. Begin by expressing your concern and care for their well-being. Since 2 out of 3 Americans do not have an estate plan, bringing up this subject can potentially help your parents think about something they had not considered before.
Know all about assets
Discussing their assets is an important step. This includes properties, bank accounts, investments and personal belongings. Encourage your parents to create a list of all their assets so that no one overlooks anything.
Ask about beneficiaries
Ask your parents how they envision their family members getting their assets. This will help ensure that their intentions are clear when they write them down. They might want to leave specific items to particular individuals, or they might want to divide things equally.
Talk about healthcare
Estate planning also involves decisions about healthcare. Discuss their preferences regarding medical treatments, end-of-life care and organ donations. Having these conversations now can save a lot of uncertainty later on.
Discuss drafting a will
A will is a legal document that outlines how people should distribute your parents’ assets. Suggest that they work with a professional to draft a will that accurately reflects their wishes. This will help prevent any confusion or disputes in the future.
Review the plans
Estate planning is not a one-time task. Encourage your parents to revisit and update their plans periodically. Changes in assets, family dynamics and laws may necessitate adjustments to their estate plan.
While discussing estate planning with elderly parents might seem daunting, it is a great conversation to have to give your parents peace of mind. By approaching it with sensitivity and a clear intention to honor their wishes, you can help ensure a smoother process for everyone involved.