Talking to your parents about their estate plan

When a parent dies, there is a chance that you will inherit assets such as a car, boat or a Texas home. Of course, it’s also possible that you’ll receive nothing or will want to liquidate your inheritance in favor of cash. Having estate planning conversations with your parents prior to their passing may make it easier to settle their affairs and minimize the risk of conflicts between surviving family members.

How to approach estate planning conversations

Ideally, you will take a broad approach when initiating estate planning talks. For example, you might want to ask what your parents would do if they could access the equity in their home or if they were incapacitated for any reason. You may also want to mention what you would possibly do with any money or items that your parents transfer to you. This may help them determine what to do with their estate while they are still alive.

It’s all about their needs

Your parents’ needs should be the top priority when talking about estate planning options. If they want to give all of their assets to your sister, a cousin or to a charity, you shouldn’t complain or try to get them to change their mind. Instead, you should be supportive and offer any advice you might have as to how to make that happen. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that you’re aware of what your parents want so that you can execute their final wishes when the time comes.

An open dialogue between family members may make it easier to structure and execute an estate plan. Furthermore, good communication may reduce the risk of a legal challenge to a will or trust or other issues that might arise after your parents are gone.