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Considerations re having the estate planning “talk” with parents

Don’t exactly relish broaching the topic of estate planning with one or both of your parents?

Well, join the crowd. A recent Forbes article addressing that subject matter cites study findings indicating that most adult children “don’t feel it is their place to bring it up” with mom and/or dad. They prefer waiting for their parents to take the lead.

Here’s the thing, though: Reportedly, most parents don’t take that step forward. Forbes stresses that they often view money matters in starkly private terms and are “unwilling to share financial information with their adult children.”

That obviously spells impasse.

And it also breeds uncertainty and, potentially, adverse results down the road in the event that a deceased parent never had a timely and candid discussion with the kids concerning estate matters.

That topic is spotlighted in the Forbes piece by contributor Jody Gastfriend, a senior care expert and author. Gastfriend’s advice is that, when necessary, adult children should take a breath and then take charge when hesitancy is overcoming open communications surrounding planning matters. Sons and daughters need to know relevant details, and for entirely unselfish reasons.

And they shouldn’t fear being proactive. Gastfriend references both her family’s personal experience and third-party narratives in stressing that, for most families who forthrightly engage in estate administration discussions, “the discussion went smoother than expected.”

Indeed, parents can be materially comforted by it, especially when it focuses prominently on their planning-linked wishes and concerns. Kids don’t need to ask about inheritances. Rather, they can simply inquire about overall planning thoughts and preferences. In doing so, relevant details – concerning things like long-term and end-of-life care, legacy hopes and, yes, inheritances – will emerge.

Concededly, estate planning “can be tough to initiate,” says Gastfriend. Yet it can also confer immeasurable benefits when timely and gently raised with an elderly loved one.

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