How to approach your parents about estate planning

As you get older, you may find yourself taking on more of a caretaker role with your parents. It is a fact of life that the tables turn, and things change. There may come a time when you need to discuss with your parents what happens after they are gone. It is a tough discussion, but one that needs to occur. You have to make sure your parents have an estate plan in place so their estate does not end up stuck in a Florida probate court. 

Money Crashers notes that approaching your parents about estate planning is not the easiest task, especially if they are still quite independent. As an heir, though, you have a right to understand what will happen and ensure they have a solid plan in place. Because estate planning includes other essential documents, such as a power of attorney or a living will, you need to know about it while they are still alive. 

Find out what they have in place  

The best place to start the conversation is by finding out what they have in place. Do they even have an estate plan or a will? Learn about their wishes and get an idea of what they want. Also, find out what documents they have drawn up. 

You can suggest additions, such as a health care directive. You may ask if they have certain documents, such as a DNR. Find out if they have a plan in place for what happens if they cannot communicate what they want. 

Gather as much information as you can to help them begin to formulate an estate plan or to round out the one they already have. You may get lucky and find out they have a clear plan already in place, but if not, you may start helping lead them down that path. 

Secure important information and documents 

If your parents pass away or fall ill, you will need access to their relevant documents, such as birth certificates and Social Security cards. You will need account numbers and access information. If they do not already have these items in one secure location, help them to do so. Add to the collection any other vital documents, such as policy details, titles and medical information. 

Helping your parents get their estate in order will be good for them and you. It can help ward off issues that could occur in the event of a sudden severe illness or death.