If you find yourself in need of broaching the subject of estate planning with your parents, the following guidelines can help provide strategies for how to start the conversation with your parents, regarding both their estate and their plan for long-term care. By having a solid legal plan in place, you will have comfort in knowing that your parents will receive the best care possible, and that their final wishes will be handled the way they want.
Estate Planning: Having “The Talk”
Discussing estate planning with your aging parents can be intimidating. No one likes to think about a time when their parents may be too old to care for themselves, or what will happen to their assets once they pass. It is important, however, to make informed decisions—not just about inheritance, but about long term care options as well. By making these decisions together, you can ensure that your parent’s age on their own terms.
Once you have decided you are ready to sit down and speak with your parents, make sure you do some of the initial legwork ahead of time. It’s important to research the questions you may need to ask, have a goal for the conversation, and prepare yourself for their reluctance to discuss the topic altogether. Perhaps put together some talking points or a checklist, so if the conversation does go awry, you can steer it back on track.
If you are still nervous about starting the conversation, a good segue is to ask your parents about their plans for retirement. As the discussion progresses, ask questions that include whether they have a current will, a power of attorney appointed, or a living will. You may come to find that they have already started the estate planning process. If they haven’t, this would be a great opportunity to offer to help them search for an estate planning attorney.
The discussion about estate planning is not something that can be accomplished in one sitting. Listen to your parent’s needs and desires, accompany them to meetings with the estate attorney, and make sure to involve the whole family. By making it a family conversation, you can alleviate some of the pressure you may be feeling. Additionally, by going over everything as a family, everyone will be on the same page, and this can prevent issues when the plan needs to be put in motion in the future.
Remember that you are not alone when it comes to tackling this difficult conversation, but it is so important that you address it sooner than later. Anything can happen at any time, and by taking care of it today, you can make sure that you and your parents are protected if something happens.
For more tips on talking to your aging parents about estate planning, contact Miller Estate & Elder Law today.