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Talking to Your Aging Parents About Estate Planning

Posted on in Estate Planning and Probate

San Antonio estate planningSome families are very open about their estate plans and what their end-of-life wishes are. Some parents will tell their children who will be getting what completely unprompted. They may give their children copies of their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance directives. This is the wise approach in most cases. Other families are less open about the subject. Estate planning can be an unwelcome reminder of human mortality. You may not even want to think about your parents one day passing away, or they may not want to consider it themselves. Nevertheless, it is important that you have this conversation. While adults of all ages should have an estate plan, it is especially important for older adults. If you have not yet spoken to your aging parents about their estate planning, now may be the time. 

Why Is Having This Conversation Urgent?

When your parents are getting on in years, there is a substantial chance that they may be impacted by age-related illnesses that affect their cognitive function. Their estate planning must be completed before they lose the mental capacity to execute legal documents. It is impossible to tell whether or when the effects of aging will become apparent, so it is best that aging adults do not wait much longer to make an estate plan. 

Tips for Discussing Estate Planning With Your Parents

You know your parents probably better than anyone else. It is important to consider how they may react to different approaches to the subject. Here are some tips for broaching the topic of estate planning with your aging parents: 

  • Create your own plan - Doing your own estate planning first may be helpful. That way, you will be familiar with the process and able to give them a better idea of what to expect. You also would not be asking them to do anything that you have not already done. 
  • Expect emotions - One of the main reasons that some parents do not talk about estate planning with their children is that it can be emotional. Parents may have fears related to passing away and leaving their children behind, no matter how old their children are or how well they are doing in life. Prepare for a potentially emotional situation. 
  • Be direct - In most situations, it is better to be direct instead of dropping hints. During a visit, you could say something like, “I just read an article about estate planning. Have you done yours yet?” 
  • Choose the right time - Avoid using a holiday or big gathering to broach the subject. Pick a time when you and ideally, any siblings, are alone with your parents to start the conversation.
  • Check in - Make sure to follow up in a few weeks or a month after the initial conversation. 

Be prepared to take some time to talk through their response. You may be surprised to learn that they do indeed have an estate plan, in which case you should find out where their documents are. If they have not, you can gently urge them to start the process. 

Contact a Texas Estate Planning Attorney

Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law is highly experienced at helping even hesitant individuals create their ideal estate plan. Our compassionate Bexar County estate planning lawyers will make the process as simple as possible. Call us at 210-535-0870 for a free consultation. 



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