Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, January 15, 2007

Time to Discuss Estate Plans

Gwen Pacarro offers excellent suggestions for Gen Sandwichers to begin discussions with their parents about their estate plans.

It’s hard to do this without seeming to be snoopy or greedy, but it’s so important. And it’s important that we begin talking to our children just as soon as they’re old enough to begin understanding. When such discussions become normalized, they’re much easier to initiate and continue.

With both my parents and my husband’s parents, we have had to lead the way. We’ve had to encourage them to create living trusts and to keep them up to date. We’ve had to encourage them to think about what is important to them and how they want their estates managed, both while they are alive and after.

The reality is, we all need to take the responsibility to discuss estate plans and the reasons behind them. It’s important that we understand our parents’ choices and that our children and parents understand ours. The more we can talk about these things, the more likely we’ll be able to avoid hard feelings and misunderstandings.

If your parents aren’t willing to discuss their plans, one approach might to be begin talking to them about yours. As you develop your will, living trust, or other plans, tell them and ask what they’re doing in that area. Encourage them to talk to you. Usually, their reluctance is an unwillingness to face their own mortality.

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