If you are spending the upcoming holiday with older family members, this is actually a great opportunity to talk about planning with them. While there are few “perfect” times to talk with parents about their estate plan, the relaxed times you spend together on vacation or downtime during the holidays can be one of them. You have the benefit of having everyone together sitting down in one place. So take advantage of that!
Here are some tips on how to bring up this critical conversation:
Find a good place to start. One of the best ways to ease your parents into a financial discussion is to bring up your own. Tell your parents that you were looking into your own estate plan and wondering if they had already executed their own. You can let them know that you have learned that the different types of plans require very different levels of effort from the executor and cost from the estate and that you want to be prepared to know what to expect. If nothing else ask for the to tell you who they have put in charge.
Take it easy. If you feel that your parents may need extra help and support with organizing their financial lives, be reassuring rather than applying pressure. Let them know that you want to make sure their fi nancial independence is kept intact for as long as possible. Take things one step at a time, such as extending an offer to help them use online bill pay or assist them with organizing their information at tax time if they are not tech savvy. Share with them your asset tracking and bill pay spreadsheet that was prepared as part of your planning. If you haven’t done your planning yet, reach out to me and I will be happy to share the sheet with you!
Respect boundaries. Many parents feel uncomfortable discussing their finances with their children. If you face this obstacle, let your parents know that you don’t need to know the amount or particular details of their accounts if they aren’t comfortable, but you at least need to know where to find their important documents when it becomes necessary, but that you aren’t attempting to control them in anyway. You simply want to help and make things as easy as possible for you and your siblings when something does happen.
What is a Personal Family Lawyer®? A lawyer who develops trusting relationships with families for life.