As parents grow older, it becomes increasingly important to have honest conversations about their estate planning.
Although discussing these matters can be uncomfortable, having these conversations now can provide peace of mind and clarity for both parents and their children.
Starting the conversation
Begin by expressing your concern for their well-being and future. You can frame the conversation around their desires and the legacy they want to leave behind for their family.
Roughly 66% of people in America do not have any estate planning documents, so being proactive is key. Highlighting the benefits of having a well-structured estate plan, such as providing for loved ones and minimizing taxes, can make the conversation more relatable.
Taking inventory of assets
Encourage your parents to create a list of their assets, including financial accounts, real estate and personal belongings. This step allows them to see a full picture of what they have and how they want to distribute it. It is also a good time to discuss any debts that might impact the estate.
Reviewing and updating documents
Estate planning is an ongoing process. Encourage your parents to review and update their documents regularly, especially after major life events like births or deaths in the family. Also, encourage them to check on any beneficiary designations they may have on their financial accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies. This helps ensure that the plan remains aligned with their wishes and circumstances.
Engaging in a conversation about estate planning with aging parents might be uncomfortable to think about, but it is important for everyone involved to have these kinds of talks. By guiding them through the process, you can provide your parents with the support they need.
Encourage your parents to see an experienced estate planning attorney who will assist them with documents that not only take care of their assets at death, but draft them documents that support their choices for their care as they age. Form documents downloaded from the Internet may not comply with the laws of the state they live in, or may allow them to make provisions that actually foil their wishes. This is their legacy they are talking about! it is worth making sure it’s done correctly. See an experienced estate planning attorney.