Summertime offers a wealth of opportunities for a nice vacation, and if you are like most Americans, no little amount of it will be spent with your older family members. Your parents, whether near or far, often-seen or not, will always look forward to a visit. Though it is a challenge to find a perfect time to bring up estate planning with your family, an easy-going weekend can be just the right time.
It is never easy to enter into such a critical conversation, but know that it’s one that has likely been in their thoughts for some time as well. Below are three guidelines that will, at the very least, prove a good start to the discussion:
Breaking the ice. The suggestion that you’re looking to set up your own estate plan is one of the best ways to broach the financial subject with your parents. Detail the steps you’ve taken for your estate, then subtly segway into a question about their own. Seeing your effort can help them surpass the mental barrier that may have kept them from executing their own plan. If need be, stories of celebrities or others who have failed to plan appropriately–and had their families pay the price–can prompt them to consider the matter.
Easy going does it. The saying holds true: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Gentle reassurance is far more effective than pressure; pressure generates a variety of negative feelings that will hamper any progress: stress, frustration, or even anger will only set the both of you back. Your parents undoubtedly value their financial independence and would value any reassurance you would have to give them. Proceed step by step, being sure they know you’re always available for assistance. Provide them the information they need to get things done on their own, but don’t push it on them.
Respect boundaries. Finances are one of the great taboos many parents have in their relationship with their children–ceding power or even just information in the area can seem to them a deterioration in their status and a reminder of their years. In the event that your parents prove unwilling to pursue the topic to any extent, leave them knowing that the one essential thing you want most is that you can find the important documents when it becomes necessary, and that you are not attempting to impose your control in any way. You know that your goal is to make things as easy as possible for you and your siblings when something does happen, so see if you can convey this concern to them.
Sometimes initiating a conversation with parents about estate planning can be easier with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer. We can help do that with a family estate planning consultation. Call our office today at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about designing an estate plan that fits the needs of you and your family.
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