How To Help Aging Parents Confront Estate Planning

Perhaps you’re doing your own planning for the very first time and want to know if your parents have made any progress in that regard. Maybe you’d like to know if you’ve been named as a key part of their estate plan so that you have time to plan accordingly. No matter what your reasons, it’s not always easy to get parents to open up about this process. But it can be very helpful to make the effort.

It is difficult for people of any age to think about the mortality issues associated with estate planning, but this conversation can be even more difficult to have if you’re an adult child trying to open the door with your aging parents. Many parents do not realize the potential repercussions of having no plan at all or relying on estate planning documents and strategies drafted decades ago.

The truth is that many things have likely changed in their individual family landscape, the tax landscape and their intentions. They might have added grandchildren or other members of the family that are not incorporated into that estate plan and new strategies and tools may not have been adopted at all. Ultimately, most parents do not want to be a burden to their adult children, and they might not realize that comprehensive estate planning is an important way to avoid the burden of probate related problems.

Previously drafted estate plans designed only to avoid probate, however, often fail to capture the importance of passing on a legacy and providing for appropriate distribution of assets.

Sitting down to talk with your adult parents about what they want to achieve with their legacy and what they’d like to be remembered for can be a nice way to open the conversation about what estate planning has been done to date and how to move forward with updating or replacing an existing estate plan.

You can also open the doorway to this conversation by talking about your own journey with the estate planning process. Making sure that other family members especially those who will play key roles in your estate plan are aware of its existence and intentions can make things easier for everyone in the long run.

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