April 17, 2024
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How to Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning

Convincing a family member to consider estate planning can be difficult, especially when it is a son or daughter asking their parents to take these steps. Getting a parent to actively think about creating an estate plan while not offending them or causing family strife can be a delicate process. Here are some tips to help things go smoothly:

1. Find a Time to Talk

Nothing can happen without starting the conversation, and the last thing you want to do is ambush a family member about this topic. Instead, try scheduling a time in the future to have this conversation. Invite other family members to join in so that everyone can be on the same page.

2. Emphasize That You Want to Help

Once the conversation has been scheduled, it’s important to emphasize that you are doing this to help your parents, not because you have an eye on any inheritance. Creating an estate plan is about more than just distributing one’s assets. A proper estate plan will prepare for a person’s incapacitation and authorize someone to ensure that any medical and financial decisions made in this scenario are done so according to their wishes. When a child asks a parent to think about estate planning, they are asking them to help the family make sure that things go smoothly and according to their desires, even when the worst happens.

3. Figure Out What Is Already in Place

When speaking with your parents an important first step is to determine what they already have in place. Do they have a will? A power of attorney? A medical directive? Do they have secular documents but not halachic ones? If they aren’t comfortable sharing this information yet with the family, suggest that they speak with a qualified attorney who can review their documents and assist them in making sure that their estate plan is accurate, current and complete.

4. Help Where You Can, Understand Your Limits

Now that your parents have gathered their information and are ready to discuss an estate plan, you can provide assistance where necessary. This can be in the form of conversations with family regarding the plan, attending attorney consultations alongside your parents, or just being available as a resource should they need someone to speak with or assist them in completing their estate plan.

Conclusion

Speaking with one’s parents about future medical care, death and money is always going to be a difficult conversation. If you can approach this topic with empathy and a desire to help, everyone in your family will benefit. At Rosenblum Law we’ve helped many families have these conversations, we would be honored to help yours as well.

By Adam Rosenblum

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