As their parents get on a bit in age, children often begin to wonder exactly how much estate planning they have done. Do they have a will? Do they have a power of attorney? Have they done no planning at all, meaning you would have to figure it out yourself if they passed away unexpectedly?
The problem is that asking your parents these questions can feel a bit awkward and pushy. You don’t want them to think that you’re insinuating that the end of life is near and you don’t want to sound selfish — like you just want their money as soon as possible. So how do you actually ask these questions?
The key is to focus on purely asking for information. Don’t pressure them. Don’t act as if you’re telling them what to do. Be patient and understanding. Remember that this may be hard for them, too, as it is for a lot of people who aren’t thrilled to focus on this area of life. Overall, just be caring and empathetic.
Try to communicate to them that you love them and care about them, along with your siblings. You just want to make sure that everything is ready so that, when the day comes, your family can smoothly move through this process without confusion and without any major disputes. That’s what they want, as well, so it takes the edge off of the conversation.
For parents and adult children who are involved in this process, it’s important to know about all of the legal options that exist. Sometimes, it can be helpful just to speak with an attorney about your goals for your estate early on.