Finding the right way to approach your parents about their estate plan can be both challenging and intimidating. Here are several suggestions to help guide you through this discussion:
Talk sooner than later
Avoiding this conversation will only create difficulty in the future. Pick a calm and positive environment and try to find a reason to discuss their estate plan such as a news article you’ve just read or a recent family event. Be transparent in your intentions, too. Possibly you are preparing for retirement and you would like to factor their estate plan into your own.
Focus on your parent’s concerns, not yours
This discussion is about their money and their wishes.
Include your siblings
Including your whole family will eliminate future contention (and the possibility of litigation) by establishing everyone is on the same page. To ensure fairness, allow each member to share their thoughts, opinions, and solutions.
Become familiar with their estate plan
Know what is included in their estate and how they would like their assets divided amongst family members and charities. Also, understand the responsibility and role each family member will fill. Who is the executor? Who will have medical and financial powers of attorney? Is there an established trust? If so, what are the terms of the trust? What is their net-worth? If there is a family business, is a succession plan in place? If they have life insurance, who are the appointed beneficiaries?
Learn if anything has changed
Major life events, such as the birth of a new grandchild, can influence the terms of your parents’ estate plan. If several years have gone by since your initial discussion, check if there have been changes.
Having an open dialogue with your parents about their estate plan extends beyond asset protection. It shows you care about their well-being, their values, and how their legacy will be passed down through generations. If your parents are still in need of an estate plan, please encourage them to contact Kendal Law Group for a free initial consultation.