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Millennial New Year’s Resolution: Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning

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Congratulations, millennials!  You survived 2020. This means that, in the near future, you will be turning 40.  It has probably become painfully obvious to you that you have had to start thinking about money in terms of long-term plans at a much younger age than the previous generation did.  You might have even started making your own estate plan.  Perhaps you have written a will, and if you have not, then some of your peers certainly have.  Now, on top of the anxieties you already have about finances and future plans, you get to worry about your parents’ advancing age.  How much do you know about your parents’ estate plan?  Do they have one?  Every family is unique as far as which details various family members share with each other about their finances and their estate plan, but this year, your goal is to put your mind at ease by making sure that your parents have a plan for their late-in-life finances and their estate, even if you are not the person who knows the details of that plan most intimately.  There are many ways to open the discussion with your parents about their estate plan.  If you are feeling stuck as far as how to begin, a Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you get started.

Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning: Which Approach Should You Take?

You know your family dynamics; you know the conversation topics over which you and your parents most easily connect, so start there.  Start by talking about your own estate plan.  Of course, if you know that the idea of being so old that your child has an estate plan will seem disconcertingly macabre to your parents, don’t use the word “estate.”  Just enthuse about your financial planner, or speak matter-of-factly about your financial planner.  If your parents say something along the lines of, “But you’re a broke millennial whose student loan debt exceeds the GDP of some small countries,” it’s a great time to raise the issue that financial planners are for everyone, not just for everyone.  Without asking any prying questions about your parents’ financial situation, give examples of families where the existence of an estate plan made life easier, even though the value of the estate was modest.

What role, if any, your spouse should take in the discussions also depends on your individual family dynamics.  One Wall Street Journal reader warns that estate planning discussions should take place between parents and their biological or adopted children, no in-laws allowed.  While this advice rings true for some, your husband might have a gift for making uncomfortable conversations painless.  Maybe your widowed mother, who only has sons, would prefer to talk to a woman about her estate plan, and your wife and sister-in-law are just the people to help her find a woman estate planning lawyer.

Al-Jahiz, a polymath who wrote in Arabic in the ninth century and lived most of his life in Basra, said that the two things that motivate people are wishes and fears.  Some Wall Street Journal readers approached the topic of estate planning by alluding to their parents’ worst fears and pet peeves.  They warned their parents of steep estate taxes, the time-consuming task of administering a poorly planned estate, or simply letting the government decide something that an individual can decide for himself, and that was enough to make their parents contact an estate planning attorney.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are a millennial approaching the estate planning stage of your life, an experienced Clearwater estate planning lawyer can give you insights into your estate plan or that of your parents.  Contact William Rambaum for help today.

Resource:

wsj.com/articles/readers-offer-their-advice-on-talking-to-aging-parents-about-estate-plans-11576422001

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