It is natural for people to feel a greater sense of urgency as their parents advance in their senior years. The amount of time left to spend with them begins to feel as though it is constantly evaporating. Every new illness or medical issue starts to feel more and more serious.
This is why it is so important for you to have “the talk” with your elderly parents about their estate planning as they advance in age. While the concept of your parents’ mortality doesn’t exactly make an appealing topic of discussion, especially with them as participants, it is a conversation you should have with them in as frank a manner as possible so you can be certain their affairs are in order.
Here are a few tips to make that conversation go as smoothly as possible.
Plan for Multiple Conversations
For more effective planning, this is a conversation you need to have over an extended period of time. It will make for a less emotionally burdensome topic and everything will not have to be resolved and dealt with in a single session.
Be patient and know when to bring up the subject and when to let it rest. Handling single issues at a time is often the best way of going about it, especially if your parents have not already made any plans for their estate.
Know What Estate Planning Topics to Discuss
There are a variety of issues you should make sure your parents account for in their estate planning. This includes advanced medical directives, wills and trusts, powers of attorney and beneficiaries for certain assets. You should also make sure you know where all important documents are located and how you can get in touch with their attorney.
Write it Down
Your parents will likely change their minds about certain wishes over time. You should keep notes of your conversations so you can refer back to your parents’ wishes and see if anything has changed.
You should absolutely encourage your parents to work with an attorney and to get their wishes in a legally binding document. However, be careful about pressuring them about the specific decisions they make—the purpose is to remove some of the strain of end-of-life decisions, not for you to influence how your parents plan their estate or who inherits what.
It is very difficult for people to face the subject of their own mortality, especially as death begins to draw closer. Empathize with your parents’ feelings and be compassionate in all of your discussions. Otherwise, you will find the discussions won’t go well.
Begin these conversations as early as possible, while your parents are still healthy and of sound mind. The earlier decisions get made and the sooner you bring up the conversation, the less difficult matters will be down the road.
For more tips about talking to your elderly parents about estate planning, contact an experienced attorney at Baker Law Group, P.C.
About Baker Law Group
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