Speaking to aging parents about estate planning can be an emotionally-charged topic for many people. As an estate lawyer in Raleigh, I had the honor of guiding many families through this process. While it’s never fun to think about one’s mortality, it doesn’t have to be an awful process.

Here are some tips for speaking with aging parents about estate planning:

  1. Come from a place of care: Let them know that you want to do what’s best for them, and follow their wishes rather than claim a stake in their estate. Remind them that estate plans aren’t just about the ‘stuff.’ They also include healthcare and personal wishes.
  2. Be the example: If you’re reading this, chances are you’re actively thinking about estate planning not just for aging parents, but for yourself. Use that as the start. Try saying “We just set up our estate plan. What’s your estate plan?” or “We’re finally getting around to estate planning. How did you set yours up?” These questions can help start the conversation.
  3. It may take time: They may need to hear about estate planning multiple times before they’re comfortable talking about it or might need to talk about some parts at a later date. Don’t push the issue too much. You don’t want them to feel like they were forced to sign a will or give up control of everything they’ve worked to build.
  4. It’s a family affair: Everyone affected should be part of the conversation. If there are multiple children in the family, they should be part of the estate planning conversation as well. Luckily, technology today makes family estate planning conversations easy even if everyone lives far apart.

A good estate lawyer can help guide a family through the process of creating a will, trusts, and anything else that the family needs to have a comprehensive estate plan. Contact Thornton Law Firm to help guide your aging parents through the estate planning process.