Discussing estate planning with aging parents is an important step in helping them stay financially secure and make their wishes known. For one reason or another, they may hesitate to talk about this topic with you.
By approaching this discussion respectfully, you help reduce their tension and ensure that others understand what they want.
Pick the right time and place
Only around 46% of Americans have a will, and starting a talk about this topic could potentially be stressful at first. Timing plays a big role in the success of this conversation.
Select a time when everyone is able to focus without interruptions and choose a comfortable and relaxed setting. This helps create an atmosphere of open communication.
Stay sensitive to their emotions
Begin the conversation by expressing your concern and care. A statement like, “I want to make sure that your future is secure” sets a positive tone. This shows your intention to support them rather than make decisions for them.
Ask open-ended questions
Encourage your parents to share their thoughts by asking open-ended questions. This approach invites them to express their opinions out loud.
Give them the right information
Give them printed-out pages or books of information about the importance of estate planning, such as how it protects their assets. Use simple language to explain concepts like wills, beneficiaries and healthcare directives.
Talk to siblings and other family members
Involve siblings or other family members in the discussion. This provides a sense of unity and shared responsibility. Make sure that everyone has a chance to express their views and concerns.
Respect their choices
Ultimately, your parents hold the final say in decisions about their estate. It’s important to honor their choices, even if they don’t align with your own viewpoints. Instead of trying to impose your ideas, your role involves offering guidance and backing their decisions.
After your initial discussion, follow up to see if there have been any changes in their thoughts or opinions. This demonstrates your ongoing support and highlights the significance of the matter.
Discussing estate planning with elderly parents might present difficulties, but it is necessary for their peace of mind and your family’s future. You can effectively initiate and navigate this conversation with sensitivity and open communication.