Holidays are a time for cherished family traditions – including discussing taboo topics such as aging parents’ estate plans at the holiday dinner table. Often times adult children out of respect for their parents do not discuss their concerns regarding their parent’s financial future.
Adult children don’t want to see the conversation as a money grab for their inheritance but have witnessed the many problems in their friends’ families that occur as parents begin to struggle with managing their own affairs. Similarly, parents don’t want to be viewed as losing their cognitive abilities and often resent their children and grandchildren prying into their personal business.
1. Approach the Topic With Respect and Care
When initiating a conversation about trust planning, it’s important to be candid and considerate, says advisor Nora Garvey. Garvey suggests starting the discussion respectfully, such as: “Mom and Dad, your health and happiness are important to us. We want to make sure there are resources in place to support you in the years ahead. Let’s work together to avoid getting caught up in a scenario where we need to help you navigate medical issues but aren’t able to work on your behalf.”
2. Begin the Conversations While Your Parents Are in Good Health
Adult children should initiation estate planning conversations with their parents while they’re still in good health so that they can make their own decisions. If you delay the conversation about estate planning, senior health care, and end-of-life wishes until a crisis occurs, your parents will feel unprepared and unable to control their own future.
3. Recommend an Informed 3rd Party
A neutral but informed 3rd party such as an estate planning attorney to advise on legal documents or an aging coach who can recommend services and resources can provide peace of mind and start an action plan. Family and friends who’ve experienced similar situations are a good source of referrals.
Often children aren’t aware of their parent’s estate plans and options, and don’t know how to discuss finances with aging parents. Many times children find themselves unexpected financial advisors or even caretakers for their parents and aren’t adequately informed to make good decisions. An experienced Illinois elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-800-0112.