It’s the talk no one wants to face, but everyone needs to have: your parents are getting older, and it’s time to discuss the many “what ifs” surrounding their health, their final wishes, and their estate planning.
We don’t like to think about our parents aging and the inevitability of their passing, but taking the time to discuss those tricky topics will save you and your family further stress, worry, and confusion during a time when you should be grieving. These difficult conversations are critical if you want to avoid unnecessary personal and financial hardships in your attempts to carry out your parents’ final wishes.
The Benefits of Estate Planning
- Protect your assets and ensure they are being handled correctly.
- Prevent disputes over property or family heirlooms.
- Make sure your parents’ final wishes are known and followed.
- Bring your family a sense of empowerment and control.
- Be prepared for emergencies and the unexpected.
Starting a Dialogue
You don’t have to discuss everything at once, but taking that first step will make future conversations easier. When you approach your parents, remember to be sincere. Reassure them that this is to protect them, their assets, and their wishes. Stay positive and stress the importance of having these conversations early.
Finally, remember to be compassionate–these topics are just as difficult for them as they are for you.
Important Questions to Ask
- Where important documents such as car and house titles, tax information, property deeds, and a will are located.
- If there is a safe or deposit box, where is the key or combination stored?
- Are there other assets that you need to be aware of?
- If your parents own a business, what are their plans for that business?
- Are there any debts that need to be paid?
- What are their wishes for specific heirlooms, including art, jewelry, and furniture?
- The names and contact information of all beneficiaries listed in the will.