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Tips for talking to your parents about their estate plan

Bringing up estate planning can be difficult. You don't want to sound like all you're worried about is getting your parents' money. You don't want to bring up topics that make them feel uncomfortable.

At the same time, you know how important it is for people to do their estate planning in advance. You also know how many people put it off. What can you do to start this conversation without causing conflict? Here are a few tips that may help.

1. Tell them you care about them

Don't approach it from the standpoint of finding out what you will get. Instead, talk about their best interests and what they want at the end of their lives. Tell them that you want to make sure things go as planned, so you're curious about exactly what plans they have made.

2. Offer to help

One of the best things you can do is simply to ask if there is any way you can help. Do they want to give you a power of attorney so you can help make legal decisions if they can't? Would they like you to help them make an inventory of their assets? Make it sound less like you're fishing for information and more like you want to do what you can to become part of the process.

3. Ask questions

Refrain from telling your parents what to do. That comes off as overly aggressive. Instead, ask questions. For instance, instead of saying "You need to write a will," try asking "Did you write your will yet?"

4. Do it yourself

If you do your estate planning, then you have a nice way to open that door with your parents. For instance, maybe you want to create a medical power of attorney so that someone will be able to make medical decisions if you get injured in a car accident or if you have a stroke. Tell your parents that you did so and why. Often, you don't have to do any more than that, but you can also ask if they've considered doing the same.

5. Tell them it would be hard for you

Point out that, if they don't have a plan in place and something happens, you have to make tough choices on your own. This can drain you emotionally. It can add a lot of stress to your life. Ask them if they want to get their paperwork together to protect you in a case like this.

The process

Once you get the conversation going, no matter how you decide to do it, it's important to know about all of the steps that you can take to get the estate planning process underway in Fullerton.

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