One of the most difficult conversations that we have to have is with our parents about their estate plan. This can be a difficult conversation for many reasons – your parents may be reluctant to discuss death, they may not want to think about what will happen after they die, or they may not know how to create an estate plan. So, how should you go about it?
Prepare for the conversation
You’ll want to have an idea of what you want to say, and you’ll want to be respectful of your parents’ wishes. If they don’t want to talk about it, respect their wishes and don’t force the issue.
If they are open to talking about it, there are a few things you’ll want to find out:
- What assets do they have?
- What debts do they have?
- Do they have a will?
- Do they have any life insurance policies?
- Who are their beneficiaries?
You should also find out what their wishes are. Do they want to be buried or cremated? Do they have any specific wishes for their funeral?
Have the conversation
Once you’ve gathered all of this information, you can have the conversation. It’s important to be respectful and understanding – your parents may not be comfortable talking about their death, but it’s important to have the conversation so that you know what their wishes are.
If they don’t have a will or any other estate planning documents, you’ll want to encourage them to create one. You can offer to help them, or you can find a qualified attorney or financial planner who can help them.
If they do have a will and other estate planning documents, you’ll want to make sure that you understand what their wishes are and that the documents are up-to-date.
Consider family dynamics
It’s also important to consider family dynamics when you’re having this conversation. If your parents have more than one child, for instance, you’ll want to make sure that everyone is on the same page. You may also want to consider talking to your siblings about your parents’ estate plan – it can be helpful to have someone else to talk to about it.
There’s no doubt that talking to your parents about their estate plan can be a difficult conversation. But it’s an important one, and by preparing for it and having the conversation, you can make sure that their wishes are respected.