You may be surprised to hear it, but many Americans do not have an estate plan. If you worry that your parents may be in this crowd, you may want to have a conversation with them.
Before you embark on the talk, however, Business Insider warns that there are mistakes that you can make.
Start the conversation at any time
Estate planning can be a sensitive subject. You do not want to drop it on your parents at any time. No one wants to talk about estate planning in the middle of a holiday or a family get-together. Instead, try to set a time with your parents to talk about the estate plan.
Keep the estate plan secret
You do not have to keep an estate plan secret. If you want to bring up estate planning to your parents, you may want to make a family conversation out of it. You want everyone to be on the same page. When you leave someone out of the conversation, he or she may think that you tried to take advantage of your parents or to take control of the estate plan for your benefit.
Plan to discuss death and incapacity
There are two types of estate planning. You plan for incapacity and death. Your parents should have someone who can make decisions on their behalf, should they become incapacitated. If they cannot control the finances, then another person should. When it comes to death planning, wills and trusts are the most common estate planning tools.
Your parents may feel as though they are alone in estate planning. If you assure them that they are not alone, they may be more likely to focus on an estate plan.