In our day-to-day operations as an estate lawyer team, we get a lot of questions about estate planning. One that we hear quite often is, “How do I talk to my aging parents about estate planning?”
Discussing estate and end-of-life planning can be a touchy subject, and your parents might resist engaging in the conversation.
Can you blame them? It’s not easy to talk about what’s going to happen after you die. As their child, you might feel like you are being rude or pushy by simply trying to have the conversation. It will be uncomfortable.
But it’s really important that you do have the talk before it’s too late.
If you plan to speak to your parents about their estate planning, these tips are for you.
Let the Conversation Come up Naturally Before You Go Diving into a Touchy Subject
Estate planning isn’t a subject that you can bring up casually—but it does come up from time to time. When that happens, don’t waste the opportunity. If your parents want to talk to you about their retirement plans, it’s OK to ask questions. Keep the conversation going as long as possible. Spend most of the time listening.
It’s critical to frame your questions in a way that emphasizes the empowerment that comes with estate planning. Having a plan and meeting with an estate lawyer isn’t only about passing on assets to your family; it’s also about making sure that your wishes are honored. Encourage your parents to make their wishes known.
But Don’t Wait Too Long
The topic of estate planning might never come up naturally. If you think that waiting for the right time is futile (you know whether your parents are the type to bring up that kind of conversation), then there is no time like the present. Avoiding the subject isn’t going to make it any easier—and actually, it can make it more difficult for the beneficiaries (i.e. you and your siblings, if you have any). An estate lawyer can help you come up with different strategies.
Ask for Help, and Get the Whole Family Involved
No single person should have the responsibility of initiating the estate planning conversation. If you have siblings or other close family who should also be in the know about your parents’ plans, you should ask them for help. Instead of a two-on-one or one-on-one conversation, why not make it a family discussion? Doing so can take the pressure off of you and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Don’t Force It
You can’t make your parents create an estate plan. If they don’t want to talk about it, it’s best not to try to force it. You can always try to bring it up later. They may come around and be open to talking in the future.
Get the Help You Need from an Estate Lawyer Who Cares
At Casal & Moreno, we are dedicated to providing our clients with expert, tailored estate planning advice. Let’s talk about your plans for the future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.