Tips for Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning
Your parents were always around to help you grow and learn as a child, and there may come a time when you need to return the favor by talking to them about estate planning in Pennsylvania. Many people are well-aware of the importance of making arrangements for incapacity and death, but the statistics indicate that this is not sufficient motivation. According to a Caring.com annual survey about estate planning, just 45 percent of individuals aged 55 years or older have a will. Fewer adults in this age group have prepared other documents as part of a comprehensive estate plan.
Overcoming these statistics may be a challenge, but it is possible to get your parents on board with estate planning. Though there can be some hesitation if they harbor feelings of dread when considering death, some of the most impactful benefits support them during their lifetimes. A Lehighton estate planning attorney can help with documentation, and you can use some tips for talking to your parents about estate planning.
Set the Right Stage: Choose a time when your parents will be relaxed, but open to conversations. Make sure there are no distractions, and ensure that children will not disturb your discussion. You may opt to have your parents over to your home for the estate planning talk, which gives them an out if they become uncomfortable. Consider whether they would be more receptive to the conversation at their own home.
Explain Options: You should be prepared to review some of the options available for estate planning, including:
- A durable power of attorney, where a person names an agent to manage property if they cannot do so because of incapacity;
- A medical power of attorney, which enables an individual to appoint an agent to make health care decisions;
- A last will and testament to name an executor and leave instructions about how to distribute assets;
- A living will that describes a person’s wishes about end-of-life care and life-sustaining treatment; and,
Offer the “What if..” Scenario: In a non-threatening manner, you should describe what would happen if your parents do not have any estate plan in place. In general, you are at the mercy of state laws instead of being in control over your own decisions. Without a will, Pennsylvania law decides who will act and where your assets go. If you do not have powers of attorney, the family must go to court to get permission to make decisions while you are incapacitated.
Lead by Example: Take your own advice by starting the estate planning conversation once you have already taken the steps yourself. Even better, you and your parents can support each other as you go through the process.
Talk to a Carbon County Estate Planning Lawyer to Learn More
Tips for talking to your parents about estate planning are useful, and our team at the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C. is ready to handle all legal details. For more information, please contact our location in Lehighton, PA. We can set up a consultation to review your goals and discuss options.