No one likes getting old, but when you have a parent who is getting older and who is facing potential health problems or loss of mental capacity, it can be very difficult to broach the subject in conversation. The subject of preparing for end-of-life issues is often emotionally charged and intimidating, and even the bravest or strongest of us may shrink from thinking about it. If talking about estate planing issues poses a problem, there are several strategies you can use.
- Use an example. A news story about a famous person’s death and the family fighting over the inheritances can be a good way to bring up the issue of estate planning. These stories often highlight what can go wrong when a parent doesn’t make his or her wishes clear beforehand. Using the news story as an example, you can discuss your own wishes about why you wouldn’t want such as conflict to happen and what your parents have done, or can do, to ensure it won’t.
- Express your concerns. If you’re worried that you don’t know what your parents would want in the event they become ill or lose capacity, you can tell them directly. Expressing your concern and your desire to ensure your parents are properly taken care of can go a long way in helping to make the topic easier to talk about.
- Start the process yourself. You don’t have to be a senior citizen before you begin the estate planning process. If you have a spouse, children or even pets, you can start taking the appropriate steps to ensure for their care if you die unexpectedly. After starting your own estate plan, you can then tell your parents about it and inquire about their own efforts.