There comes a time in every parent-child relationship where the hierarchy of caretaker and caregiver flips. Rarely is this a comfortable moment—after all, when is change ever easy? What’s important to focus on is, the potential difficulties can be mitigated by planning and foresight. Furthermore, this exchange of roles tends to happen step by step and if each step is handled with grace, tension can be avoided. One such step is when the need to address estate planning with your parents arrives – and arrives it has. After all, if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that tomorrow cannot be taken for granted. Managing the delicacy of this conversation is not easy and so to help ensure your success, we have prepared the how-to guide outlined below.
1. Start the Conversation
How you go about raising the subject of estate planning with your folks will depend on your relationship. Some children find the “asking advice” angle to work best. You might, for instance, share that Covid-19 has you thinking about your healthcare directive and ask your parents how they chose a proxy. If they reply that they don’t have one, then there’s your in. Alternatively, if they offer advice you can then use this as a stepping stone to address other estate planning documents they may or may not have.
Another approach may be to address your family’s medical history and explain that the subject has you concerned about future planning. Or, if your relationship permits, you might simply be direct and let your parents know you recognize the need for an estate plan—especially in these uncertain times—and wish to talk to them about their preparations.
Whichever avenue you choose, as long as you start the conversation thoughtfully and with care, you will no doubt find that doing so is easier than you may have imagined.
2. Arrive Prepared
Once you get things rolling, the best way to ensure a successful conversation is to know what you want to say. Not only will preparation communicate that you have invested real caring in the subject, but it will also ensure the best possible outcome. At a minimum, all parents—indeed, all adults—need a will, healthcare directive, and durable financial power of attorney. These three essential documents ensure a person’s assets and well-being are protected in case they should suffer incapacitating injury or death; they also provide clear care instructions to loved ones so that no nasty tension arises in a moment of tragedy.
When expressing the need for these documents, it is important to let your parent know that you do not seek to meddle in their affairs but simply want to make sure they are protected should the unthinkable happen. This means avoiding any comment on how they should organize their estate and instead focusing only on why.
3. Find an Attorney
With the hardest part over, it would be a shame if there weren’t follow-through. A common hurdle for aging individuals is finding a trusted attorney. After all, today’s online marketplace can be intimidating to navigate, and yet it is here, online, where services are advertised, and reviews can be found. Before broaching the topic of estate planning with your parents, do a little bit of research about the estate planning attorneys in your area and arrive prepared to go over those that you think might be the best match.
At the Deliberato Law Center in Independence and Dublin, Ohio, we take great pride in ensuring every adult has the protection needed to live a worry-free life. We work collaboratively with you and your family to make sure your estate plan conforms to your unique needs and we provide a lifetime of service such that you remain covered no matter the changes that may come your way. To get started, give us a call at (216) 341-3413 or book a consultation through the contact form on our website. And because we believe that everyone should have the educational tools to plan for their future, we offer free estate planning workshops. Be sure to look at our schedule and sign up for an event today.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at Deliberato Law Center