The population of the United States continues to get older on average, with more and more adult children taking care and looking after the affairs of their parents. Massachusetts has an even slightly higher percentage of older adults than the national average. However, many people still refrain from bringing up the topic of estate planning with their parents, particularly since death and finances are subjects that can be difficult to discuss.
Despite the difficulty involved with discussing estates, this is an important subject to breach. Here are some tips on talking to parents about estate planning.
Keep in mind that your parents may be as hesitant to discuss end-of-life planning as you are. It is important to remain patient and continue the talks at their own pace, which is yet another reason to initiate these dialogues sooner rather than later.
Get things in writing
When talking about legal and financial issues, putting major decisions in writing is helpful in case anything comes up down the road. For example, a sibling who was not present at a certain discussion may have questions about what the parent said.
Keep it neutral
A major reason why discussing estate planning is so difficult is that past conflicts within the family may arise. Try to look after the best interests of your parents as well as everyone involved, If this is not feasible, an outside person such as a mediator or family therapist could get involved.
Talking to parents about estate planning is no easy task, but there are many ways to make this important and necessary discussion easier for all parties.