End-of-life discussions are hard to have with your family who you wish could live forever. While no one wants to face the reality that they’ll eventually pass away, it is important to establish what needs to happen when they do. Estate planning makes life easier for everyone. Your parents might balk at the idea of making a will now, or they may have just never gotten around to doing it. In either case, you’ll find these tips beneficial for helping you to pave the way to having this important conversation.
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You can expect to have several serious conversations as your parents age, and this is a great time to start practicing open communication before things get harder. Ask your parents for a time when they are willing to sit down and talk. Ideally, you can host the conversation in a comfortable and private environment such as their home. If you have siblings, then you may also want to invite them to join you for the conversation so that no one feels left out.
Since this is a sensitive topic, it helps to begin with introducing the idea of bringing in a professional. You can ask your parents if they’d like you to help them find a will and trust attorney who knows how to make sure that all of the essential paperwork is completed properly. Working with an attorney helps your parents know that their decisions will be documented in ways that are legally binding in order to prevent any confusion.
It is possible that your parents have already done some thinking about how they want to distribute their assets. They may also have things such as a living will or preference for an executor that they haven’t shared with you yet. Even if you aren’t their listed power of attorney or executor, having an idea of what they want done can help you make sure that their final wishes are carried out.
After your parents make their last will and testament and other plans, they’ll need to provide you with information about it such as where they store the documents. Many people leave a copy on file with their lawyer along with another copy that they keep in their file at home. You may also want to revisit this conversation as things change. For instance, your parents might want to revise their will if they lose a loved one that plays an important role in carrying out their wishes.
As you talk to your parents, remember to practice sensitivity. If they prefer for you to not know everything about their finances just yet, then encourage them to work with their lawyer to get it all on paper. Later, you’ll be able to use their essential documents to make vital decisions when they are no longer able to tell you what to do.