Can you remember the awkward feeling you had when you sat down with your mom or dad to “talk”? Ok, I want you to have a discussion with your parents of a different nature. This next conversation might make you and your parents as uncomfortable as the first one, but it’s just as necessary. I want you to discuss their estate plan with your parents. I strongly suggest you to visit Preston Estate Planning to learn more about this.
You know that estate planning is important. You have taken care of your family and made sure that if something happens to you, all your ducks are in a row. You know that estate planning is not just about estate taxes or for the rich. And if you are disabled (through your hand picked assistants), it is about retaining power and offering tonnes of guidance for what you want and how things should be done during disability and upon your death. It is about security and making things easier for those you love.
But do your parents have the same understanding and, in times of need, have they taken measures to defend themselves and retain control? Will they have a plan for making all the changes of life as smooth as possible? The response is “no” if your parents are like 55% of adults in the U.S. today. That, to me, is a little frightening. They are truly leaving stuff to chance. I’ve had people tell me they don’t need a plan because they know their children are going to take care of it all. But are they going to? After a lifetime of leading their children into adulthood, do they really want to abandon one of the most challenging tasks of life emotionally, without any guidance, at one of the most difficult times?
Possibly not, but when they do not take the time to put a plan in motion, that is the message they send. Also, those of you who are parents know how we all want to put our children first. I’ve found that in my clients who saw the Great Depression and World War II, this desire is much greater, and it hasn’t diminished in the years that followed. Even now, they see preparation as self-indulgent for their own desires, almost something to be ashamed of. It also falls on us to reassure our parents that thinking about their own needs is okay.
And what stops planning for individuals? Inconvenience and disinformation. It’s not fun to talk about our own mortality and it’s less fun to talk about money for many, particularly the Depression Era generations. My experience has been that when many people hear the term estate plan, they either don’t really know what it is, or they believe it’s just about estate taxes, and only rich people need to do something. So, how can you speak to your parents about this uncomfortable subject?
First, do it carefully and from the point of view of caring for them-not their income. It should, in fact, be focused on them and their needs. The best way to bring this topic to a screeching halt is to talk about wealth and inheritance and “what’s in it for me”. This is a dialogue about security and making things a little easier for stressful circumstances.