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How to Talk to Your Aging Parents About Estate Planning

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Fort Worth estate planning lawyerEveryone can benefit from having a comprehensive estate plan in place. In addition to giving a person and their family the peace of mind that their final wishes will be fulfilled, estate planning offers the opportunity for someone to examine their financial needs and assets in order to plan for the future. An estate plan usually includes a last will and testament and can also include a living trust, power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, instructions concerning life insurance, a business succession plan, and more.

At our firm, we have helped hundreds of clients create estate plans with varying degrees of complexity. We have also received many questions from individuals wondering how to approach the topic of estate planning with their aging parents. It is not always easy to initiate such discussions, but doing so is important for the security of your family.

Intestate Succession

If you have parents who are getting older but do not have an estate plan, you may be concerned as to how their end-of-life decisions will be made and how their assets will be distributed after their death. When an individual dies without having executed a valid will, the contents of his or her estate will be distributed to eligible heirs through "intestate succession." The specifics of intestate succession vary slightly by state, and such laws can be quite complicated in certain situations. Put another way, if a person does not make their own decisions about their property, the state will do it for them. Of course, most people would not choose to surrender those decisions to the state, but by not having an estate plan, they are doing just that.

Understandably, it can be very difficult for a person to plan for the end of their life and for after they have passed away. No one wants to face their own mortality. Furthermore, some parents avoid discussing estate planning because they are ashamed that they do not have a larger estate or a greater inheritance to leave their heirs.

Focus on the Parents’ Needs

When broaching the subject of estate planning with your parents, it is a good idea to do so in a calm and nonaggressive manner. Start by assuring your parents that you are there to support their desires and wishes. The conversation should be focused on your parents and their needs. Go slowly and take breaks, if necessary, when discussing these difficult topics. It may be helpful to introduce the subject of estate planning yourself and then allow an estate planning attorney to explain the details. Some families find that a family counselor, religious leader, or another mediator can help the conversation about estate planning go more smoothly.

Call a Fort Worth Estate Planning Law Firm for Help

If you or your family are ready to begin the process of estate planning, or you have questions about wills, trusts, inheritance, end-of-life planning, power of attorney, family business succession planning, or other estate planning tools, contact Gonzalez Law, PLLC for guidance. An experienced Texas estate planning lawyer can provide the help and clarification you need. Call 817-349-7730 to schedule a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-have-the-money-talk-with-your-parents-without-seeming-greedy-2016-12-01

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/12-tough-questions-to-ask-your-parents/

The First Step: Call Today
It is never too late to get help on your estate plan. To discuss your situation with a seasoned estate planning attorney, call our Fort Worth office at 817-349-7730. Or, reach out through our online contact form. We will respond as soon as possible.
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