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How to bring up estate planning with your parents

You may be worried that your parents have not done their estate planning, as you know how that’s going to impact you and your siblings. Maybe you’re worried about disputes that will make it hard to ever patch things up. That can be avoided if your parents create a comprehensive plan in advance.

At the same time, though, you’re not sure how to bring it up. It’s one of those subjects that can be hard to delve into. If you need help getting that conversation going, here are a few tips.

Exercise patience

First off, remember that you’re not going to mention estate planning at dinner and get to read your parents’ will a week later. This takes time. Be as patient as you can. Try to just bring it up casually, as something they may want to think about, and then give them time to do it.

Don’t do it alone

It may also help if you’re not the only one involved. Make it an open conversation for your entire family. Stress how important family is, how you all care about each other, and how the plan is important for preserving family unity.

Consider examples that can lead to the conversation

When you can tell a story or use a real-world example, it doesn’t seem so jarring. For instance, maybe your father’s business partner recently passed away without a will and his kids ended up in court. If that topic comes up, you can stress how you’d love to avoid a similar situation. Focus not on money and assets, but on values and on doing what is best for the family.

How to get started

For those doing their estate planning, one of the biggest hurdles is just knowing how to begin. It’s important to understand precisely what legal steps to take.