As your parents age you may want to encourage them to think about critical end-of-life decisions. Through your support and genuine care for their well-being, you can stay informed of their intentions to make things easier when they do pass away.
Your parents do not need to share all of the details of their estate plan with you. However, their willingness to share general information can prepare you and other family members to make informed decisions upon their passing.
Do not pry or force
The worst approach to learning more about your parent’s plans is to pry or force your way into their business. According to Money Crashers, pressuring your parents into talking can cause everyone to lose focus of the purpose of the conversation. Inquiring about your inheritance can come across off-color and selfish.
If you hear your parents talk about more sensitive aspects of their estate plan, ask for permission to take some personal notes. Another approach is to ask your parents if you can help them organize end-of-life affairs instead of asking what they have planned. This strategy allows you to participate in planning and get information without needing to pry.
Know their wishes
Your conversation should focus on your parent’s intentions and the family values they wish to pass down. When you stay informed of your parent’s plans you can have the confidence to make responsible decisions on their behalf as they age. For example, it is helpful to know if your parents have an advance directive. It is also helpful to know what they want to happen under certain circumstances, such as whether or not they want life-saving measures if they stop breathing.
Approaching conversations about your parent’s plans for the future with respect and concern can lead to informative and positive discussions. Armed with information about their wishes and with the reassurance of their confidence in you, you can preserve their legacy and the things that are most important to them.