Having an aging parent can bring about mixed emotions for many Florida residents. You may feel happy to still have your parent around, but you may also worry that your mother or father — or perhaps both if you have two living parents — have not taken proper steps to create a plan for end-of-life wishes. Though you may not want to bring up the topic of their eventual demise, you do understand the importance of having an estate plan.
You certainly do not want to come across as pushy or as if you are simply waiting for your parents to pass, but you do want to gently encourage them to make necessary plans. How can you do that in a caring way?
Make it personal
Your parents may at first try to brush off your attempts to bring up their estate plans by saying that they are not rich, so they do not need to plan. They could also say that you or other family members will simply know what to do when the time comes. These are common rebuffs that people receive when trying to discuss estate planning with loved ones, and to address these excuses, you may want to make it personal.
Tell your parents how it would bring you some relief to have their instructions to go by when settling the estate. You may also want to say that you worry about doing the wrong thing when it comes to their care, and that having their legal-binding wishes on paper could help you and the rest of the family handle matters better. It could also help to explain that an estate plan does not simply address after-death wishes.
An estate plan can help individuals with advanced planning for health-related concerns, especially if a person becomes incapacitated. You may want to encourage your parents to create the following documents if they have not already:
- Durable powers of attorney for finances and health care
- Do-not-resuscitate order (if desired)
- A living will
Encouraging your parent or parents to create these documents, which can help while they are still living, is a great starting place for estate planning if they do not feel ready to face the idea of their demise. Of course, creating wills and trusts are also important, and continued encouragement could better ensure that your parents have a comprehensive plan.