"The Conversation"

As Father’s Day approaches and we think of our families, the issue of how to talk to parents about tough topics such as estate planning may be in your thoughts, in some households un-affectionately titled “the Conversation.” The sooner you start discussing estate planning with aging parents the better, for all concerned. It is not easy asking a parent financial and end of life questions. However, as Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
The mere idea of starting the conversation with your parents about finances and planning can be daunting. You may feel as if you are invading their privacy. The first step is to begin the conversation and open the door for continued discussions. In starting the conversation, the underlying theme to keep in mind is that top concerns for a parent typically are being a burden to their family if they become ill, and discord among their children after the parent’s death due to their estate.
A comprehensive plan should address 1. Long term care; 2. Deciding who will be the decision maker for financial and health care matters if necessary; and 3. Ultimately, the distribution of assets to heirs. The first step in planning is to understand that it is as much a plan to protect the lifestyle of a healthy spouse, as it is a plan to protect and distribute assets upon death.
If starting this conversation seems overwhelming, or you can’t seem to make progress toward a plan, then maybe having your parent(s) hear the same topics and issues from a third party is helpful. At RHP, we are skilled in facilitating the development of family, estate and long term care planning. An easy step toward your goals may be attending one of our free workshops.
Once completed, most plans provide great comfort and peace of mind to all parties, both children and their parent(s).