Estate planning is important for every member of your family. Good estate planning will ensure that you and your family members are protected against the uncertainty that can happen without an estate plan in place. Although you may have different goals, and different lawyers, it is crucial that you make sure your child’s grandparents are working with you when it comes to estate planning.
It’s perfectly normal for adult children and parents to want to avoid the inevitable subject of aging and the end of life. The conversation, however, must eventually happen. Not only is it important to talk about your estate planning, it is important to be on the same page. From providing legacies for grandchildren and naming guardians to paying for long-term care and protecting the home, these are conversations you simply can’t put off.
Start by setting the time to talk. For some people, this talk may be easier than others. Some parents may not be willing to admit they need help or even willing to admit they will eventually need help. Decide now, with your parents’ consent, if it might be easier to include some of your siblings in the conversation to try to avoid miscommunication later on.
Before having this “talk,” write down a set of goals that you want to accomplish from it. Such as, what are their wishes or concerns with regard to aging? What kind of help from you would make them the most comfortable? Are there any questions they have for you? In addition to questions that impact their estate planning, think of your own as well. Make a list of the answers you need from them regarding decisions that impact your estate planning directly. For example, if there is a specific way or time frame in which you want money left to your children, their grandchildren, they need to know so your estate plans will not conflict.
When you start the conversation, to make it easier and get on the same page, let them know why you feel it’s important for you both to start planning. Share the goals you have for conversation and let them know you are here for them. Don’t be surprised if your parents are initially resistant or if they will not budge on certain issues, such as not wanting to live in an assisted living home. Let them know you are receptive to their wishes. Being on the same page and knowing this information will help you create estate planning goals that will fulfill your parents’ wishes as well as give you the advance time you need to look into the available options to meet them.
Once you start sharing, and reach mutual goals, coordinating your estate plans should be an easier task. Remember, this discussion won’t begin and end with one conversation. Take time to research options and solutions with your parents. Help them find an attorney who can meet their needs. Being informed will help you both make better estate planning decisions that benefit the whole family.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community about estate planning and how to protect what matters most.