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How should I broach the topic of estate planning with my parents?

Bringing up the topic of finances and the future with your aging parents is never easy, but putting off these hard subjects can prove devastating.  Discussions about finances can lead to thorough estate planning, which will positively impact you and your family in the long run.  It is crucial, however, that you approach the subject of estate planning in a respectful manner so as not to lead to ill feelings.  Our Tampa estate planning lawyers offer some tips for discussing estate planning with your parents today.

Use a Story to Illustrate the Importance of Estate Planning

We have all likely heard of a friend, family member, or even famous person who put off estate planning until it was too late.  Without a will or trust in place, the deceased individual’s children suffered financially and emotionally.  One way to start discussions rolling with your parents is to use a story to illustrate the importance of estate planning and assure your parents that you want to make sure something like that does not happen to your family.  

Band Together with Siblings or Other Loved Ones

If you have siblings, it can be best for the sibling with the strongest relationship with your parents to start a conversation about their estate plan.  Only children or children with a strained relationship with their parents may turn to someone else close to their parents for support.  

Share Your Own Estate Planning Steps

It can be helpful to talk about the steps you have taken to protect your legacy.  Tell your parents about your will, power of attorney, or trust.  Let your parents know that you have a list of your accounts and passwords so that your spouse can access funds as needed if the unforeseeable happens.  Ask your parents what steps they have taken and gently suggest steps that they should consider.  

Talk About the Future

Ask your parents about their plans for the future.  When do they plan to retire? Where do they want to live?  What do they imagine their financial future will look like?  Discussing these important future plans can segue way into a broader conversation about their estate plan.  As your parents warm to the subject, schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney for more assistance.