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Tips to more easily discuss estate planning with your parents

At some point, you may find it necessary to sit down with your parents to discuss their estate plan. This sounds like a simple conversation, until you realize that you actually need to take the first step.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease the stress associated with this conversation. Consider doing the following:

  • Set aside special time to discuss estate planning. This isn't something to bring to light during a family dinner or vacation.
  • Focus on the wants and needs of your parents, leaving yourself out of the equation. Remember, this isn't about you. It's about ensuring that your parents have a sound estate plan in place.
  • Make your intentions clear. You don't want your parents to believe that you are being greedy or trying to "angle" for personal good. Be clear that you are simply trying to help them.
  • Include others. If you have siblings, for example, you may want to include them in the conversation.
  • Get help. There are people who can assist with estate planning, from tax professionals to attorneys to retirement specialists.

It goes without saying that discussing estate planning with your parents is not going to be an easy process. This can lead to a variety of challenges, all of which you need to overcome to ensure that your parents are in a better place.

If you find yourself in this position, taking a slow and steady approach is best. Over time, as long as you and your parents are on the same page, you can do your part in providing the right type of assistance.

Source: MarketWatch, "How to talk to your parents about their estate without seeming like a greedy jerk," accessed July 19, 2017

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