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Now is the Time to Talk to Your Elderly Parents About Estate Planning

Talking about money and finances with your parents can be awkward. Talking about them within the context of the end of their lives and what will happen to their assets after they pass away can be downright uncomfortable. If your parents have assets and they have not yet thought about their estate plans, now is the time to get that conversation started. Use the following guidelines to jumpstart your estate planning conversation with your parents – you might gain insight that can help you with your own estate plans, too.

How to Get the Conversation Started

Communicate why you want to talk about estate planning with your parents. Frame it as coming from a place of being proactive and pragmatic, rather than a place of greed on your part. If you have siblings, consider including them in this discussion. Focus on the positive aspects of estate planning, like avoiding family conflicts and probate difficulties later.

What to Discuss with Your Parents About Estate Planning

Talk about how to write a legally valid will in your state. The will should name an executor for your parents’ estate, dictate how their debts and outstanding taxes are to be paid, and name beneficiaries for their assets.

Estate planning involves more than creating a will. Talk to your parents about the different types of powers of attorney that can be established and determine a plan for this. Your parents might also want to include charitable giving and the creation of one or more trusts in their estate plans.

Ways You can Help and Advocate for Your Parents

If your parents do not know where to start the estate planning process, connect them with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Consider sharing articles and websites you have found useful with your own estate plans. If your parents are not the type to read information online, consider finding a few good estate planning books to share with them.

It is important to remember that although you can be your parents’ estate planning advocate, you cannot make their plans for them. If they ask a question you cannot answer, refer them to somebody who can answer it. If your parents ask you to come

to meetings with lawyers and financial advisors, attend to provide support but do not let them sit back and have you handle the meeting. This is their money and their future. They need to be the ones who control it.

Work with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today

It is never too soon for you to start planning your own estate, even if you are fairly young and in good health. When you discuss estate planning with your parents, think about estate planning for yourself, too. An experienced estate planning lawyer can answer your questions and help you create an estate plan that fits your needs and goals. Contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

Published October 26, 2017
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