It can be difficult for parents and children to have a conversation about estate planning. Some people feel uncomfortable talking about the end of their life. Others feel uncomfortable talking about money and financial assets.
But it’s still an important conversation to have because an estate plan can lower the odds of disputes and help the process go smoothly. Here are a few things to keep in mind when asking your parents about their plan.
Talk about the benefits
A good place to start the conversation is by explaining why certain things may be beneficial. Using a will to divide sentimental assets may prevent an estate dispute between siblings, for example, which may be a substantial goal for your parents.
Explain why you want to know
It can also help to talk about your intentions. Explain to your parents that you’re not just trying to figure out how much money you’re going to inherit or anything like that. You just want to ensure that there is a plan in place, you’re concerned about future disputes, you want to help your parents with legal or medical decisions and much more. People are sometimes more open to having a difficult conversation when they understand exactly why the other person has brought that topic up.
Listen and offer assistance
It’s very important to listen to your parents once this conversation is going, rather than just telling them what type of plan you think they need to make. But it can be helpful to offer assistance. If you’ve already done your own estate planning, for example, you may be able to explain some of the tools that you used and the benefits that you expect for your family.
It’s crucial to make an estate plan well in advance. Those who do so need to be aware of the legal options at their disposal.