Estate planning may not be an interesting topic to bring up, but it is a necessary one. As your parents age, an estate plan becomes more necessary. According to MarketWatch, around 30 percent of parents do not have detailed talks with their adult children about their living expenses in retirement or their long-term care plans. Parents and children alike are nervous to carry on these types of conversations. Children do not want to appear greedy and parents are uncomfortable with it.
The problem with silence, however, is that it can lead to conflict later. The children may not understand their parents’ wishes, for instance. Say that a parent leaves more money to one child and not the other, but says nothing to their children about it. They may assume there is a mistake or they may grow bitter towards one another.
It is important that you respect your parents’ wishes, even if you do not understand them. Instead of conflict, talk out your parents’ decisions. Request a meeting where you can discuss future plans carefully. Do not spring the conversation on them. Explain that you want a clear idea of the estate and that you want to understand how to support them.
Conversations over finances, end of life plans and after death plans can make people nervous and defensive. Make sure to be careful in your communication. Listen to the conversation, show empathy and understanding. In addition, if your parents are sensitive about finances, do not ask for specific numbers. It is better to get a conceptual idea of their plan, not the details.