Your parents have most likely been fully independent for many decades. Not only that, they will have provided for you and assisted you in obtaining your own independence.
This can make the reality of their aging difficult to digest. You may question whether or not you need to approach them about estate planning and they may deny that a discussion needs to be had. Reluctancy over estate planning can actually be harmful to the entire family, but it is still very common. Having that difficult discussion can bring security and peace of mind to everyone involved.
So, what is the best way to bring estate planning up with your parents?
Lead by example and start the discussion
What better way to show your parents the benefits of estate planning than to take measures for your own family? This can put their mind at ease by showing that estate planning is not all about the end of life. You will also be in a better position to explain some basics about the process, as well as the numerous estate planning instruments that are available. Getting the conversation started is often the hardest part, and leading by example can get the ball rolling.
Make their needs the center of your focus
Your parents need to know that their wishes come first. It is likely that they have heard of disputes over wills that result from confusion. You can address them from the standpoint of avoiding any similar disputes between you and your siblings in the future. Emphasize that your parent’s wishes are the priority and that you seek only to clarify these wishes, not manipulate them in any way.
Estate planning can be a tricky subject to approach but you can tackle it as a family. As you consider different estate planning options, be sure to explore the legal rights of your parents.