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Speaking with Your Parents About Estate Planning

The relationship adult children have with their parents is usually pretty well defined.  Children are generally not accustomed to advising their parents; it’s usually the other way around.  However, as parents become older and children grow into adulthood and begin to have families of their own, this dynamic can change significantly.  This shift becomes even more relevant as it pertains to estate planning.

As your parents age, you will likely begin to have questions about the way your mother and father have planned for the future.  Being informed about how your parents have planned for the inevitable, allows for more open communication and lets you ask questions about how your parents would like their wishes to be carried out.

Determining how to approach your parents about estate planning can be difficult because it’s not easy to ask anyone to provide sensitive details about their financial situation, even your loved ones.  One way to begin the dialogue with your parents is for you to open up about the efforts you have made to move forward with your own estate planning.  Explaining what you have done to plan for the future allows you to broach the subject of your parents’ estate planning more comfortably.  With this approach, your questions can be brought forth more naturally because your parents may feel compelled to discuss their wishes once the topic of your plan has already surfaced in a conversation.

Despite the uncomfortable nature of the subject matter, this discussion is in the best interest of your parents.  It is not simply a conversation about the eventual transfer of assets.  There is also the issue of long term care that should be considered and discussed.  At some point, many of us will require assistance with our daily needs like getting around, bathing, shopping, and cooking and these needs will affect the whole family.  The majority of living assistance for seniors comes from family, friends and loved ones but when this is not possible, seniors may enter nursing homes or assisted-living communities.  Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover an extended stay in these facilities and they can be very expensive.  It’s important that you discuss these issues with your parents before a crisis arises.

You might find that your parents are actually quite relieved when you show an interest in their estate planning efforts.  You will be demonstrating that you are able to tackle a difficult subject with maturity and also that you are a caring member of the family.  Once you develop an understanding of your parents’ existing plan, you can begin to make suggestions and help them to find a qualified estate planning attorney to help them in the process.

Assisting your parents with these issues may help you to develop a deeper relationship with them as they start to become aware of your understanding and maturity.  You might find that the bond you have with your parents becomes even stronger as you move through the process with them.

Our trusted estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh are here to help.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your parents prepare for the future.