It’s never easy to talk about estate planning with your parents. However, having this conversation can bring peace of mind to everyone in your family. It may also prevent future conflict between family members.
Get a suitable location and time
Usually, the best place to have this estate planning conversation is at home, and a good time might be after dinner or during a relaxed weekend. It’s important that both of you feel comfortable and there are no distractions. However, you can look into other options, like talking during a walk outside or even over video call, but keep in mind what works better for your family.
Bring up the topic in a respectful way
You might be feeling a range of emotions when thinking about this conversation, such as anxiety, sadness or even anger. It’s okay to feel this way, but try to be respectful when bringing up the topic to your parents. One way to do this is by using “I” statements, such as “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed about everything that needs to be done when you’re gone, can we talk about your estate plan?”.
Another approach is to frame the conversation in a way that highlights their wishes and desires. For example, “I know you’ve always been very private about your finances and investments, but I need to know what your wishes are in case something happens to you”.
Ensure your siblings are involved in the conversation
If you have siblings, it’s important to involve them in this conversation as well. This way, everyone is on the same page and there won’t be any misunderstandings down the line. It can be helpful to set up a time for all of you to talk together, or you can bring up the topic the next time you’re all together.
Once you’ve had the initial conversation, it’s important to follow up with your parents periodically to ensure that their estate plan is still up-to-date. This can be a difficult conversation to have, but it’s crucial in making sure that their wishes are carried out and avoiding any conflict between siblings.