One of the most difficult things to discuss with loved ones is the eventuality that each of them will someday die. The inherent reference to mortality in a conversation about estate planning has many adult children uncomfortable discussing this important task with their parents.
Estate planning should not be ignored, however, because of its ability to formalize wishes about financial management, healthcare, and gifts to family and friends. Here are strategies to make talking with your parents about estate planning a little easier.
Lead By Example
You can create a discussion approach on your own by getting your own estate plan done. Once you complete it, you can talk with your parents about how you made guardianship designations for your children, completed a living will, and denoted who would inherit certain investment assets.
The ability to talk to your parents about your experience and what you did to complete your estate plan takes the focus off of them. It also opens up the next logical step of asking them where they are at in their estate planning.
Many people are not aware that declarations of medical care wishes also fall under the larger estate plan umbrella. In Minnesota, completing care directive can not only make your wishes known but help ensure that your wishes are carried out. A healthcare directive can designate:
- Your medical power of attorney and choice of conservator
- Your health care preferences including hydration and tube feeding
- Medical procedures that you do not want done
- Care provider and facility choices
- Types of decisions you want your power of attorney to make
- Special directives in the case of pregnancy
- Funeral and organ donation wishes
Take Small Steps
Parents (or adult children) that may get overwhelmed tackling the whole estate planning talk at once can split it into manageable pieces. Breaking up the talks is a positive strategy as long as it keeps the momentum going forward towards completion of an estate plan. Consultation with legal counsel can further refine your parents’ wishes and formalize them into a plan recognized by law.