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How to discuss a parent's estate plan

Every relationship between parents and their adult children is different, but one thing may always remain awkward no matter how close (or distant) they may be. Broaching the topic of estate planning can just as troubling for adult children as talking about sex was for their parents. Despite how uncomfortable it can be for both parties, there is a method to the madness, and we will give some helpful tips through this post.

Don’t wait for a crisis – Health crises and financial issues should not be the impetus for discussing a parent’s estate plan. It can make you look like a greedy child who is trying to steal your parent’s wealth, and it makes any legitimate concern that you have seem disingenuous.

Maintain respect – Parents, not matter how old they are, still feel like parents. This means that they still appreciate being in control of their own situations, and they still want to be respected as the providers they were 30 or 40 years ago. So in discussing their estate plan, it is important to maintain an air of respect towards them.

What to discuss – Even if you muster up the courage to ask about your parents’ estate plan, there still lies the awkward question of what to talk about. It may be helpful to talk about how they want to be remembered, or what is important to them in leaving a legacy. These are likely to be much more important to them than questions about how much money they have or who is going to be included in their will. 

If you have additional questions about estate planning for elderly parents, an experienced attorney can advise you. 

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