As both you and your parents get older, you start thinking about all of the assets that they own. You know that you’re going to have to sort out all these details or handle the assets when they pass away.
At the same time, you know that most Americans don’t have an estate plan. You’re worried that your parents have not done any planning and don’t have any structure in place that will help you and your siblings. You know how important this is, but how do you bring it up?
Use other examples
One potential option that you have is to talk about examples of situations that have not gone well. For instance, maybe an aunt or an uncle passed away without an estate plan and it was very chaotic for your cousins. Simply pointing out that you don’t want the same thing to happen to your family might be an easy way to get your parents to start on their plan. They too have seen how poorly things can go without one, so you just need to remind them.
Have a family meeting
Another thing that can make this a bit easier is if you all have a conversation together. Perhaps you have multiple siblings and both of your parents are still alive. All of you can gather together and talk about how the plan will impact everyone involved. This way, it doesn’t appear that one person is trying to start this conversation simply because they want to get their inheritance as soon as they can.
Don’t focus on the money
Since people are often worried about appearing rude, greedy or intrusive when they bring up these types of estate planning issues, one thing to remember is that you shouldn’t focus on the money, but on the other aspects of the plan. For example, you could talk about how an estate plan will use a medical advance directive to tell you and your siblings what type of medical care your parents want or who gets to make their decisions for them. This keeps the focus on making things go smoothly for people that you love.
Exploring your options
During this whole process, it’s important for all involved to know what legal options they have. The more you know, the better the plan works.