While people of all ages should think about their estate plan, it becomes even more critical as a person ages. Having a conversation about estate planning is difficult, particularly when you want to share the conversation with your parents. However, having a conversation with your parents can help you fully understand your parents’ wishes.
Approach the conversation with compassion, patience and a willingness to help improve the plan to encompass your loved ones’ wishes for their estate.
Determine how current your parents’ estate plan is
If your parents need assistance with their estate plan, you may find that they have not updated it in many years. Wills and trusts need to comply with current laws. In an ideal situation, people will revisit their estate plan once every three years. Still, many have outdated wills and trusts that do not abide by current laws or consider the person’s current situation.
Watch out for beneficiary conflicts
If your parents did not update their estate plan, their beneficiaries may be outdated. For example, when people go through a divorce or if one beneficiary passes away, it can be challenging to determine who the real beneficiary should be. All 401(k) plans, retirement plans and annuity contracts should have current and contingent beneficiaries.
When helping your parents with the estate plan, do not do it in secret. Families may benefit from having conversations about assets, so everyone understands your parents’ plans and no one feels left out or as if you want to take control.