You certainly hope that your parent has an estate plan ready and waiting. You don’t want to have a string of estate disputes with your siblings and other beneficiaries. You don’t want there to be any confusion over what is supposed to happen to the assets.
At the same time, though, this is a bit of a sensitive subject to bring up. Maybe you don’t know if they’ve done any estate planning and you’re curious. How can you talk to them about it?
Learn as much as you can in advance
The more you know about estate planning going into it, the more beneficial this conversation is going to be. For instance, you want to make sure you know about all the main documents that someone would want to use. Then, instead of just generally asking your parents if they’ve done estate planning, you can ask if they have used any of these documents. This can also help you identify things they may have left out if they do have a plan.
Ignore the money at first
People often worry about looking greedy or self-centered when they ask about estate planning because it can make it look like they just want their parent’s money. You know this isn’t true, but it could be wise to start with other aspects of estate planning just to make it clear that you’re not trying to get the assets as soon as you can. Talk about what medical decisions they would like to make, for instance, or whether or not they have done long-term care planning.
Remember that you don’t have to do it by yourself
If you have other siblings and family members who may be included in that will, it might be a good idea to ask all of them if they’d like to have this conversation. This makes it look like you’re not trying to go behind anyone’s back to get those assets or to influence your parent’s estate plan. It also shows your parent that you really care about them and the family, and that the whole reason for this conversation is just that you want to make sure things go smoothly.
There are a lot of different things to think about with estate planning, and it’s important for all involved to learn about the options they have and how to get started.