Naperville Lawyer on Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning

talking, Naperville estate planning attorneyEveryone can benefit from having a comprehensive estate plan in place. In addition to giving a person and their family the peace of mind that his or her final wishes will be fulfilled, estate planning offers the opportunity for that person to examine their financial needs and assets in order to plan for the future. An estate plan usually includes a last will and testament and can also include a living trust, power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, instructions concerning life insurance, a business succession plan, and more.

In my practice as an estate planning attorney, I have helped hundreds of clients create estate plans with varying degrees of complexity. I have also received many questions from individuals wondering how to the approach the topic of estate planning with their aging parents. It is not always easy to initiate such discussions, but doing so is important for the security of your family.

Intestate Succession

If you have parents who are getting older but do not have an estate plan, you may be concerned as to how their end of life decisions will be made and how their assets distributed after their death. When a person does not have a will in place, property passes by what is called “intestate succession” to heirs according to state law. Put another way, if a person does not create their own will, the state will do it for them. Of course, most people would not choose to surrender those decisions to the state, but by not having an estate plan, they are doing just that. Understandably, it is extremely difficult for someone to plan for the end of their life and for after they have passed away. No one wants to face their own mortality. Furthermore, some parents avoid discussing estate planning because they are ashamed that they do not have a larger estate or a greater inheritance to give to their heirs.

Focus on the Parents’ Needs

When introducing the subject of estate planning to your parents, it is helpful to do so in a calm and nonaggressive manner. Start with assuring your parents that you are there to support their desires and wishes. The conversation should be focused on your parents and their needs. Go slowly and take breaks if necessary when discussing these difficult topics. It may be helpful to broach the subject of estate planning yourself and then allow an estate planning attorney to explain the details. Some families find that a family counselor, religious leader, or another mediator can help the conversation about estate planning go more smoothly.

We Can Help

If you or your family are ready to begin the process of estate planning, or you have questions about wills, trusts, inheritance, end-of-life planning, power of attorney, family business succession planning, or other estate planning tools, contact The Gierach Law Firm for help. Our experienced Naperville estate planning lawyers can help provide the guidance and clarification you need. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation by calling 630-756-1160.

 

Sources:

Marketwatch

CBS News