J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

When is the right time to discuss estate planning with a parent?

Everyone dies at some point or another, and for some people, the end of life is not a difficult subject to discuss. For many other people, however, their own death is among the last things in the world they want to talk about.

Having a conversation about death can be especially difficult between a parent and child. People in Polk County who have aging parents may assume their parents have already taken care of all the planning details surrounding their own mortality, but that isn't necessarily true. So when is the right time to broach a difficult conversation like this with a parent?

Some parents will give their children certain hints or cues that they want to talk about estate planning and other issues involving death. For example, if a parent makes comments about their will or setting up a power of attorney, or anything else along those lines, that is probably a strong signal that the child should meet the conversation head-on with their parent.

It is also important to remember that the parent and child need to have this conversation at a time when they can thoroughly discuss all aspects of it without rushing. Furthermore, the child should appreciate the importance of having this conversation at a time when their parent is feeling mentally sharp.

Talking about death with a parent is usually not easy, but doing so can save both the aging parent and the child a lot of headaches down the road. Children should also keep in mind that this conversation is about carrying out the parent's wishes, so it is not the time for the child to judge their parent and argue with them. Nobody can escape death, but preparing for it is the best way to ensure that one's children can carry out their wishes when it comes to their estate and other end-of-life matters.

Source: Huffington Post, "What Your Aging Parent Isn't Telling You - I Want to Discuss End-of-Life Issues," Patrick O'Brien, Accessed on March 1, 2016

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