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The best way to talk to your parents about estate planning

Just as you have concerns about your own estate plans, it's natural to wonder if your parents have taken the necessary steps to protect themselves.

While it's never easy to discuss estate planning with your parents, it's often the responsible thing to do. If you take the right steps, you'll realize that you're in a position to help your parents in a number of ways.

Here are three tips for talking to your parents about estate planning:

  • Schedule time: Don't spring this conversation on your parents when they least expect it. For example, asking your parents about their estate plan at Thanksgiving dinner isn't a good idea. Choosing the right time and place is critical to having a meaningful conversation.
  • Don't overstep: Even if you hear something you don't like, it's not your place to overstep and tell your parents what to do. Remember, it's their estate plan. You're simply trying to help. Don't become forceful or overbearing.
  • Provide assistance: If your parents ask for help, step in where you can to assist them. But if you don't have the knowledge to do so, bring in someone else, such as an attorney or tax professional, to help.

When you take these steps, you'll find it easier to talk to your parents about estate planning. It's not your goal to change their estate plan or ask them to do something that benefits you.

Instead, your top priority is ensuring that they're satisfied with the estate plan they have. If everything checks out, all of you will have more peace of mind.

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