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How to Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning

Fox 5 NY says in the article “Why estate planning is important regardless of your age or wealth” that this is great time to begin talking to your loved ones about estate planning, especially older relatives and parents.

The key to a successful discussion with your parents about estate planning depends upon the right approach.

Try to always make suggestions, rather than demands. One great way to start the conversation with family members, is to mention what you’re doing. You might say something like, “I just took care of my own estate planning. Have you done anything? Maybe we should talk about it.” That might get the conversation rolling.

Many people believe that, as they get older, they need a will. However, that’s just one piece of the puzzle: core estate planning includes a will, completed beneficiary designations for financial accounts, a general power of attorney, advance healthcare directive and, in many cases, a trust.

You’ll need to determine the people you trust most to help with finances and health care decisions in the event you can’t do it yourself in order to complete the documents listed above. You can use one person in both financial and healthcare roles, or list separate individuals for each role. Most people opt for a spouse, family member or a trusted friend.

You should also note that your will and trust doesn’t necessarily cover everything. Make certain that any beneficiaries designated in your retirement plans or life insurance and any additional names on joint bank accounts are current and properly integrated with your estate plan. The beneficiaries you appointed by a designation form will typically get the money in those accounts, no matter what it says in your will or trust.

If all of this sounds a bit complex, don’t worry, because an experienced California estate planning attorney can help you with all of the forms and all of your questions.


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