Some of the more difficult estate planning questions you might have to deal with don’t involve your plans at all. Instead, what many people find to be most difficult is bringing up the topic of estate plans with parents who have yet to begin their own efforts. In many situations, an aging parent can be very reluctant to look at estate planning, especially when a child begins the discussion. Though these conversations can be difficult, you need to speak to your parents about estate planning as soon as possible if you know or suspect they have done little or nothing to prepare.
Start by talking about yourself.
If you’ve tried to talk about estate planning in the past but your parents have been reluctant, the problem might be in how you approach the topic. If you begin the discussion by talking about your own desires and concerns, this might make it a lot easier for your parents to accept the conversation.
For example, you might talk about how you are concerned about what would happen to your own children should you become incapacitated or die. This can then lead to a discussion about the steps you’ve taken, as well as questions about what your parents have or haven’t done.
Start thinking about the simple things.
Estate planning doesn’t have to begin by addressing the big questions of inheritances and medical directives. Instead, you can focus on the small things, such as what your parents would want for their pets if they should die.