Nobody likes to think about a time when their parents won't be here anymore, but the reality is that most kids outlive their parents. It might not be the most pleasant conversation, but you may want to talk to your parents about whether their will is in order. They may not have one, or they might have not updated their existing one in quite some time.
In the following article, we'll talk about broaching this potentially delicate topic with your parents. Doing so will be good for both their peace of mind and yours.
Why Have This Talk?
Your parents might not be too eager to have a talk about their will. It's not like talking to them about some innocuous conversation. When you discuss their will, part of what you're talking about is their mortality, and that's not always easy to bring up.
The main reason why you should talk with your parents about their will, though, is that in many instances, the children are the ones who are expected to be the executors of the parent's estate. From a practical standpoint, your parents will probably want to make sure their will is in a condition where you can execute their wishes in a straightforward fashion.
Prepare For This Talk?
This is a serious talk about finances so you need to be prepared. Make a list of what you need to discuss with your parents. This can include their will and estate plan, term life insurance, a plan for assisted living if needed, and their debt situation. Do your parents have any debt? This may be difficult to ask them but this has to be an honest conversation. If they are in debt and have multiple kinds of debt, there are multiple types of debt consolidation strategies they can employ.
When you begin the conversation, you might ask your parents if their will states explicitly what they would like done with any small items with sentimental value. Maybe they have something like a quilt, jewelry, or photo albums that they want to leave to particular relatives.
If you frame this discussion by asking if they have items they want to leave to you or their grandchildren to help you remember them, that might be a suitable place to start.
The Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented event, at least in the lifetime of everyone it impacted. Since the pandemic began, many older individuals have been more open to either creating wills or updating them.
If a parent doesn't have a will yet, you might mention the pandemic as a potential reason for creating one. Covid-19 has been an example of how there's a great deal of uncertainty and unpredictability in the world. Acknowledging one's mortality is never fun, but someone who sees what's happening in the world might be ready to update their will or create one.
Where to Find Their Will
Some parents create wills, but they don't necessarily inform their adult children where to find them. After the parent passes on, the child needs to search their belongings to see if they can locate the document.
You can talk to your parents about that as well. If they have a will, you should know where to find it when the time comes.
This is an Important Conversation
It's not easy to bring up the topic of your parents no longer being with you, but it's vital to plan for that eventuality, and hopefully, they feel the same way. You might start the conversion by asking if they have items they want relatives to have. If so, they should have an updated will stipulating that.
You might bring up the pandemic as a reason why creating a will and keeping it updated matters. It's a reason why many older adults have taken this step within the past couple of years.
You can also speak to your parents about where to find an updated copy of their will. Maybe there's a file on their computer where they keep it, or perhaps they have a printed copy they keep somewhere safe.
These may not be the easiest conversations for either you or your parents to have, but ideally, both of you will see why they matter from a practical standpoint.