Discussing the touchy topic of estate planning with your parents

Your parents raised you with love and have given you all the advantages in life they could. Now they are aging, and you may be surprised to find that they do not have an estate plan. Bay Area residents who find themselves in such a situation will want to discuss estate planning with their parents. However, estate planning can be a touchy subject, especially when a significant amount of money is at stake. The following are some strategies to take when you talk to your parents about estate planning.

Make it a group effort

When you begin discussing estate planning with your parents, it should be a group effort that includes all your siblings and anyone else who might be included in their estate plan as an heir, executor or power of attorney. This promotes fairness and trust, and can help avoid fighting and conflicts down the road.

Time is of the essence

Money is often at the heart of a will or trust. However, discussing money with your parents can be a touchy subject. Nevertheless, time is of the essence as you do not know how much time your aging parents have left. If your parents are healthy now, have the estate planning discussion with them as soon as you can so they can make sound decisions.

What if your parents already had an estate plan?

Parents do not share everything with their children, so some of you may be surprised to find out that your parents executed an estate plan years ago, perhaps when you were a child. It is important to blow the dust off that estate plan and review it. Laws change, heirs and beneficiaries may have been born or passed on, or a divorce or marriage may have occurred. These life changes should be reflected in your parents’ estate plan. Make sure everything is up to date.

Learn more about estate planning

Discussing estate planning with your parents can be a sensitive subject, but it is important. With an estate plan in place, there is no guesswork as to what your parents wishes were. Moreover, an estate plan can address incapacity and life-saving measures, as well as money. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who are interested in exploring this topic further may find our firm’s estate planning website to be a useful resource.