How to discuss estate planning with your parents


When your parents pass away, items such as their North Carolina home, a car or a bank account will need to be transferred to new owners. How this is done depends on whether your parents have a will or a trust. It’s also possible that your parents want to transfer assets before they die or have other issues that need to be accounted for in an estate plan.

How to approach your parents about estate planning

It may be best to take a broad approach to an initial estate planning conversation. For instance, you may want to ask if they have any documents in place or what they would want to do if they are unable to speak for themselves. Using this approach enables you to gain important information without being seen as trying to spend an inheritance before you even receive it.

Obey their wishes

It’s possible that your parents don’t want to include your siblings in estate planning conversations because they are not included in a will or trust. It’s also possible that they want to keep their plans quiet to avoid infighting between family members. If your parents ask you to keep their plans a secret, that is what you should do even if you think that others should be kept in the loop. Going against what your parents want may cause them to disinherit you or to shut off the lines of communication.

Having an ongoing dialogue with family members about their estate plans may make it easier to meet their needs now and after they die.