How to Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning

October 6th, 2016 by John Wilson

One of the most emotional aspects of caring for aging parents is delving into the estate planning process. The best time to begin financial planning for seniors is before there is a pressing need to do so. In an ideal world, you and your parents will discuss their finances and come up with a plan before there is a terminal diagnosis in the equation or questions about one or both parent’s mental competency. Financial planning for seniors should begin early. If your parents are still in good mental and physical health and you haven’t discussed financial issues with them, make a plan to sit down and begin this dialogue. If you haven’t had “the talk” and have a parent who is in failing health, you have no time to waste. Here are some tips for addressing this tough topic.

Estate Planning: Why It’s Important

Your parents probably worked hard during their lives. They have acquired belongings and possibly property. They probably have a nest egg of some sort from saving, investing wisely, inheritances and other sources. They may have jewelry and other valuables stored securely in safe deposit boxes. Estate planning will make certain you and other trusted loved ones are aware of your parents’ assets. It also will ensure you’ll have the resources you need when caring for aging parents and settling their affairs once they die. Finally, estate planning will arrange for your parent’s wishes to be fulfilled. Without a will or trust, they’ll have little, if any, say in how their estate will be settled.

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Expect Emotions

Everyone will die, but talking about it and planning for it isn’t easy. Talking about money isn’t easy, either. Unfortunately, greed has a way of rearing its ugly head during many estate discussions. In some cases, estate planning may become uncomfortable and even heated. You have your parents’ best interests at heart so stay the course and try to be the calm and rational voice that’s needed at the table.

Don’t Rush the Process

Arguably, the best advice when you’re about to begin the estate planning discussion with your parents is to think of it as a marathon and not a sprint. Begin with a brief conversation to bring up the topic. Then, ask them who they want to include in future conversations. Next, create a list of topics to cover, including: Is there a will or trust? Should there be? What about a durable power of attorney and advance health directive? What assets are there and where is all associated paperwork.

Adult children of aging parents will have to have plenty of necessary, yet difficult, conversations through the years. Discussing issues related to finance and bringing up the idea of moving into assisted living are two examples. Consider Village at Oakwood your source for affordable assisted living in Oklahoma City. Whether you would like advice about having the tough conversations or wish to schedule a tour or request a brochure, contact us.

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