The topic of estate planning is rarely easy to discuss. Thinking about end-of-life plans can make people uncomfortable, and understandably so. While it’s not often a joy to confront the idea of death, having a comprehensive estate plan in place is crucial to your family’s financial future.
If you have aging parents who lack an estate plan, it may be time to have a conversation. In truth, an estate plan is such a practical legal document that the benefits far outweigh any potential discomfort. An estate plan can concern much more than just the distribution of assets – how your parents wish to spend their final days can also be addressed to ensure their peace of mind.
What follows are some helpful tips for broaching the subject of an estate plan with your parents:
1. Start simple
The hardest part may be simply getting the conversation going. Having a family meeting during a time when you are together – a holiday may be ideal – is a good occasion to bring up estate planning. For many Indiana residents, the idea of an estate plan only comes up after an accident, so even just a little preparation can go a long way.
2. Keep their wishes in mind
Remember, your parents’ estate plan is about their wishes. Any powers of attorney or healthcare directives serve to carry out their final plans. How they wish to distribute their assets may not necessarily be in accordance with your goals, but it’s important to contain any judgement. Making your parents feel guilty about their financial ideas may put them off from the conversation altogether.
3. Convey your feelings
While this conversation is about your parents, you should relay how you feel. You care greatly about your parents, and the fact that they do not have an estate plan may give you anxiety. By emphasizing that your entire family would be better off with a legal plan, you can get your point across with a compassionate and reasonable tone.
4. Talk about the bigger picture
It’s probably not entirely necessary to start talking monetary figures right away. You can conduct this conversation at a higher level to address your parents’ larger wishes. Consider how they wish to spend their twilight years, what their retirement may look like and how they want to disburse their holdings. Creating an estate plan is a major decision, and it’s one that is about much more than inheritance amounts.
5. Consider meeting with an estate planning attorney
If your parents are receptive to the concept, you may wish to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. The right attorney can address your parents’ questions and concerns in a considerate way that puts their best interests first.