How do you have a conversation with your parents about estate planning? My first impulse is to answer to this question with the statement, “Very carefully.” Your parents are your parents and you are their child no matter how old you are. A discussion about estate planning for tough situations such as death or incapacitation, or a discussion about what their wishes are, who gets what, and what happens if they get sick, is not one that many people like to have. So when I say that this conversation should be approached very carefully, I mean just that: approach this conversation full of care.
Check your motive.
Your motive for wanting to have this conversation will reveal itself. Whether the motive is to get your mom’s cookbooks or it is to lessen potential drama in the family when mom passes, the motive will show. Therefore, it is good to check your own motives. I find that the best conversations about estate planning with parents happen when the child or children are truly motivated by the goal to see their parents wishes accomplished. This means when they are gone and/or are no longer able to make decisions on their own. Sincerely caring about your parents and wanting to support them in making sure what they want to happen actually happens is a motive that most parents respect and can get behind. This motive opens up the door for them to hear what you have to say. Therefore, they are more open to consider what you have to share with them about estate planning.
Know the basics.
It’s important to be informed yourself. Your parents may have questions about what an estate plans, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc. You want to be able to answer your parents questions or know where to refer them. One of great things about The TGQ Law Firm is we have articles that explain the basics. One of the best things about The TGQ Law Firm is that we offer a free 25 minute phone consultation with prospective clients. Consequently, your parents can talk to an attorney that is an expert in estate planning free of charge before committing to an attorney. This way, they can and find out what they need to know.
Consider the setting.
When talking to your parents, consider the setting. What place will they be comfortable talking? Will you need privacy? Probably. Who should be a part of this conversation? Should you talk to your parents alone first? All of these things should be considered. Above all, you want to have the most productive and supportive conversation with your parents.
Have resources available.
Share information about estate planning with your parents. Give them a brochure from The TGQ Law Firm, take them to a seminar that The TGQ Law Firm sponsors, and share article links listed above. Maybe you’ll want to print them out and give them the articles, or schedule a phone conference for them with one of our expert attorneys. Be sure to make the information they need available so they can make an informed decision about what they need.
Be willing to revisit the conversation several times.
It may take several conversations before any actual estate planning takes place. Therefore, it is important to be patient with the process. Your parents may need to think about this for a minute. However, it is equally important to try to help them get the ball rolling. It is better to plan ahead than to be scrambling to put things in place. You want to avoid facing the publicity or conflict of not having a plan.
At The TGQ Law Firm, we know that this conversation and process can be daunting to people. We know it is not easy to plan for these tough moments in life, but we also know how much more difficult these tough moments are when proper planning has not taken place.
Our core values at The TGQ Law Firm are to treat people well, provide sound counsel, and make the process enjoyable. We are confident that you and your parents will be well informed, have your needs met, and feel cared for as you work with our law firm. Feel free to contact by phone, email, or on our website to schedule your appointment or your free phone consultation today. We are here for you.