There are some topics that are hard to tackle with your folks in Kentucky no matter how solid your relationship may be. One of those topics is estate planning. They may not realize how important it is to make arrangements for the distribution of their assets (financial and otherwise) prior to their death.
They may not even want to deal with end-of-life issues, period. Or perhaps they think that because they are not affluent, there’s no reason to write their wills. Maybe they just are not in the mood to bother. If they are experiencing health problems, it may seem like just another nuisance that they can put off for a while.
How come it’s so hard to have this conversation with your parents?
You don’t want to give your parents the erroneous impression that you are already standing in line with your hand out to grab all their money the minute they are gone. For another thing, talking at length about money can seem crass. You also don’t want to disconcert your mother and father by delving into this subject unexpectedly.
Diplomacy and a gentle approach can help with the conversation
According to the Institute on Aging’s website, “If you approach [this issue] with love, respect, and their best interests at heart, you can not only help them overcome a burden but put their minds at ease as they enter a new stage of life.”
First, affirm how much you love both of them. Tell them that if they do not have a will or estate plan, someone else (like the court) will have to step in later on and make choices about who will receive what. Those choices probably will not conform to what they would have wanted.
You can also mention that if they die with no estate plan or will, the resulting confusion, plus the distress felt by family members, will cause real pain to their loved ones. That’s pain that can easily be avoided.
Get help if you are still stumped about how to initiate this conversation
As the Institute on Aging states, “Talking to your parents about their wills and estate planning is an act of love ….” If you still need tips on having this delicate but meaningful discussion, find out more about what to say from someone with experience in this field.