As parents get older, there is often a shift from them taking care of their children to their children taking care of them. If this is an arrangement you suspect could be in your future, you may need to have some uncomfortable conversations with them.
For instance, talking to your parent about an estate plan sooner rather than later can be crucial. This type of discussion may not feel important right now, but putting it off can wind up creating unnecessary heartache.
Why it is crucial to discuss estate plans
Discussing an estate plan with your parents accomplishes several goals. First, it can alert both of you to oversights and gaps in their decisions. In fact, you could discover that they don’t have a plan in the first place.
This conversation also allows you to ask questions and confirm your parent’s mental condition. Perhaps you don’t understand why your parent would decide against life-saving measures, or you are confused about changes they are making to their will. Talking to them gives you the chance to get on the same page, which can be immensely valuable in avoiding legal disputes in the future.
Finally, talking to your parent about their plan helps you plan for your own future. Will you receive an inheritance? Does your parent plan to live with you, or do they have sufficient resources to secure end-of-life care elsewhere? Are you going to serve as a guardian, executor or trustee?
Tips for having the talk
When you are ready to have this discussion, take your time. Help your parent feel comfortable, and don’t expect them to share every detail. Approach the topic from a place of compassion and concern, rather than from a place of greed or control.
Additionally, you can prepare a list of estate planning documents and questions you have. This article provides some more in-depth suggestions for preparing for this discussion.
Putting off difficult discussions may seem harmless, but if your parent gets sick or gets into an accident, it can be too late to ask your questions and get peace of mind for your loved ones and yourself. Thus, talking about it today can be a wise decision.