As many of us are looking forward to celebrating the holidays with our families, I’d like to offer you some advice on how to talk to your parents about their estates.  I will be leaving 30A next week to head over the river and through the woods.  I know it’s common for each generation to avoid planning for their deaths; few people are eager to spend time thinking about their own mortality.  Unfortunately, not spending a little time with an estate planning attorney can end up costing more than just a little time.

Discussing estate planning with your parents can be tricky.  Neither of you wants to think about the fact that they will one day pass away.  Not only that, but you likely don’t want to look greedy or uncaring.  That’s why you should approach the topic in a way that lets them know you have their best interests at heart.  Here are two important things to keep in mind:

  • Estate Planning Protects Your Parents’ Legacy

One of the most important things to remember when you’re discussing an estate is that it will be your parents’ legacy.  It is not the only way they’ll be remembered, of course, but it does give them the opportunity to have a say in what becomes of the assets they’ve worked so hard to acquire.  An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to show them more ooptions than they likely ever realized were possible.

  • Estate Planning Protects the Beneficiaries

Just because you’ve grown and gone out into the world doesn’t mean that your parents don’t still feel the need to “parent” you.  Taking the proper steps to plan their estate means that they can lesson the burden on their children and grandchildren at what is sure to be a difficult time.  Let your parents know that you want to follow through on their wishes, and by planning in advance, you can make sure that happens.

Acknowledging that our parents won’t always be here is a difficult thing to do.  But it is a necessary part of preparing for the future.  By introducing the topic in terms of protecting their legacies and their beneficiaries, it is possible to turn the conversation into one of empowerment.  Once the subject has been brought out into the open, it’s best to take steps to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to make everything official.