When your parents pass away, there is a chance that you will be the one who has to deal with their estate. If they have an estate plan in place, your job will likely be a bit easier. One thing that you can do now is find out what they want. This might be a hard conversation to have with them, but it is best handled while you can ask questions about things you don't understand.
Some adult children feel guilty asking their parents about this; however, you should remember that an estate plan is more than just an outline of who gets what. It might help you to use these tips when starting the talk.
Start by asking about their end-of-life care
If you don't want to jump into the conversation by asking about the financial matters, you can start things off by asking what special instructions they have for their end-of-life care. This information is usually relayed in the living will. You can also ask who they designated as the powers of attorney for health care. This is the person who will make decisions about their health care if they become incapacitated and can't make the decisions themselves.
When you are discussing the health care, find out as much as possible about what your parents want and don't want. Little decisions, such as whether they want to focus on comfort care instead of treatments if quality of life becomes a concern can help you to better understand what decisions you would have to make.
Open the financial discussion with life insurance
After you talk about the medical aspect of their plan, you can move into the financial discussion by asking if they have life insurance and where the policy is. You can also talk about funeral and burial plans. Once you are clear about what they want, you can ask them what type of estate plans they have.
You don't have to focus only on physical assets. You can also ask questions about where the letter of instruction is located. This document outlines anything special that you need to know. This includes things like usernames and passwords for online accounts and other assets. It should be kept somewhere you have easy access to and not with the will since the will likely won't be handled until after the person's funeral.
As they tell you about their estate plans, you can ask questions that might help you to understand what they want. Since you will know what to expect, you might find it easier to deal with it all when they are gone.