Estate planning has many benefits for families in California, but parents are sometimes reluctant to think about their death or incapacitation. Children can have estate planning conversations with their parents to better understand their wishes. The conversation can empower the parents to make their own decisions.
Don’t put it off because of costs
Estate planning helps because anything can happen at any time. Children shouldn’t wait to have a conversation with their parents for that reason. Putting estate planning off because of cost doesn’t help the family. A family without a plan would have to go to court over an estate, which is often expensive. Court cases can cost up to four times as much as estate planning. Having estate planning conversations can help protect the siblings and parents from unforeseen expenses.
Ask about an estate planner
A responsible child could help find an estate planner if their parent isn’t using one. An estate planner should be someone who has experience in the subject. After the preliminary steps of estate planning, parents should involve their children and talk about estate planning together.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
Having a reason to talk about a parent’s estate plan helps make things less awkward. Estate planning conversations often come up after articles or a family emergency. People should plan estate conversations ahead of time. Parents may need to get the proper paperwork before talking about their estate plan.
Involve the whole family
Estate planning conversations with the whole family can ease tensions that come up. The children knowing what the parents want will take some pressure off. On the other hand, families who don’t discuss the estate plan tend to argue after a death. A sibling handling the estate plan can lead to the uneven splitting of assets.
An estate plan should name everyone involved. The person who makes health care decisions will need to know about a living will, and a person with power of attorney can control finances on the parent’s behalf. Estate planning conversations may feel awkward, but they help everyone get on the same page for the future.