You may be wondering whether your parents have an estate plan in place and how comprehensive it is. As you know that a lack of planning can cause many problems for a family when someone passes away, you may understandably want to know if they have addressed this challenge yet or not.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to bring up this topic. Your parents may be uncomfortable talking about the end of their own lives. You may feel uncomfortable because you don’t want them to think you’re only interested in estate planning from a financial perspective. So how do you start this conversation in the best possible way?
Express your concerns
One good thing to do is to talk about the issues that actually concern you so that your parents can understand why you’re bringing this topic up in the first place. As noted above, it can be confusing for a family to be left without a plan and it can often cause disputes between heirs. Simply explaining that you want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you and your siblings demonstrates that you’re not primarily concerned with the distribution of any particular assets.
Work with your siblings
You may also be worried about it appearing as if you’re trying to gain favoritism from your parents. To avoid this, if you have siblings, have them be part of the conversation as well. This shifts the focus so that it is more of a family conversation about the future of that family, rather than simply you talking to your parents alone.
Use a segue
It’s also beneficial to find a segue into this conversation. One of the most common is noting that you just recently created or updated your own estate plan. Or that you’re thinking about finally completing this process for yourself. You can ask them questions about the process they have gone through or even talk about unexpected things you learned while making your own plan. This is an organic way to steer the conversation toward your parents’ plan.
Estate planning can be complex, and it’s important for all involved to understand exactly what options they have and what steps to take. If you have questions about how your parents should be planning, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance.