As your parents get older, it can be difficult at times to think about the possibility of them not being able to care for themselves as they once did or even the idea of their eventual demise. While it is certainly not something you should dwell on, it is important that you and your parents understand that aging comes with these possibilities and that it is crucial to have plans in place to help you handle these events more easily.
An estate plan can cover a wide array of important life matters, including how your parents want any health care and financial affairs handled in the event that one or both of them cannot handle those matters soundly. This plan can also indicate how they want their estate divided and settled after their passing. However, if they do not have a plan, you could end up in a tough spot.
How can you bring up the topic?
If you have not heard your parents discuss any estate plans or mention a will, you may wonder whether they have taken this step. Understandably, you may want to take a delicate approach to discussing their end-of-life wishes, and using any of the following openers could help you start a conversation:
- Bring up your concerns over an illness that seems prevalent in your family, such as dementia or heart disease, and ask whether your parents have any legal plans in place should such an illness befall them.
- Tell your parents that you are working on your own estate plan and ask how they made such important decisions. If they have not made any estate-related decisions, you could encourage them to do so, even suggesting that you go through the process together.
- Express that you have concerns about being left without any instructions for how to handle their care or estate.
You certainly do not want to coerce your parents into planning or use scare tactics, but openly communicating your concerns and the benefits of having an estate plan, for your parents and you, could give them the opportunity to consider this option more closely. Plus, if you have not started your plan, it could allow you to start as well. Any adult could benefit from having a plan.
You may also want to explain to your parents that they do not have to deal with legal documents and make important decisions alone. An experienced Florida estate planning attorney could explain their options for planning, assess their wishes and assist them in finding the right planning tools to meet their goals.