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How to Talk to Mom and Dad about Estate Planning


Conversations about death are rarely fun. This subject can be particularly difficult for parents and their adult children. Adult children may avoid bringing up the topic because they do not want to think about their parents’ mortality, and they may also want to avoid sounding as though they are waiting for their parents to die.


Despite these valid challenges to having conversations about death, you should not avoid the topic. Your parents will die at some point; having an estate plan addressing what happens to their money and property will preserve their legacy. Without and estate plan, state law governs what happens. Those default state rules may not reflect your parents’ wishes and may result in expensive and time-consuming court proceedings. The following are some key ideas to consider when discussing estate planning with your parents:


  • Be open and honest about your concerns. Being truthful about your concerns is a significant challenge when discussing what will happen to your parents when they die or lose the ability to make decisions for themselves. To facilitate the best conversations about estate planning, address any challenging family issues while your parents are available to provide their insights.


  • Ask your parents what their wishes are. What do your parents want? Avoid assumptions, they may already have some ideas about their estate planning instructions.


  • Discuss any planning already in place. Your parents may have done some estate planning in the past but never updated it. These documents may no longer be relevant due to changes in the family over time, new property or investments, death or divorces, changes in tax laws, etc. Ask your parents if they have any of the following documents, and if they do, these legal documents should be reviewed and updated:

    • past wills or trusts

    • powers of attorney

    • insurance policy and retirement plan beneficiary designations


We can help!


Our attorneys can help you with your family estate planning. For assistance with these and other business law, tax planning, or estate planning matters, contact our office today!


Legal Disclaimer - The information provided is designed for general information only and is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it create an attorney client relationship. Consult an attorney before making any legal decisions based on your individual circumstances. 

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