How to Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning


As you develop your own estate plan, you may find yourself wondering how to broach this sensitive subject with your parents. Even though Pasadena attorneys encourage clients to discuss estate planning with their heirs, studies indicate that the majority of Americans say they are in the dark as to what their parents' estate plan involves.

Here are some tips to make the estate planning conversation easier:

  • At a bare minimum, an estate plan needs to include a will, statutory power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and a directive to physicians (living will). Special circumstances may require additional documents, but making sure your parents have addressed these four should be your top priority.
  • If you have siblings, arrange to discuss the issue as a group. This avoids the perception that you're being greedy or manipulative in asking your parents to clarify their wishes.
  • It can be effective to approach the issue in terms of sharing your own experience. For example, you might discuss who you've given medical power of attorney and use this as an opening to ask if your parents have addressed this issue in their own estate plan.
  • Understand that people who don't make an estate plan are often afraid to address their own mortality, worried about outliving their resources, or think that their children will fight over the estate no matter what type of plan they've created. You want to be compassionate and proactive as you discuss the issue; your parents don't need to feel as though they're being lectured.
  • Keep the conversation focused on developing a better understanding of what your parents want. Explain that you want to make sure their wishes are carried out, but you need to better understand what those wishes are in order to achieve this goal.
  • Once you've discussed your concerns with your parents, provide them with the contact information for several estate planning attorneys and financial planners in their area. Urge them to seek professional assistance to create a plan that best meets their needs.

How Can We Help?

Our Pasadena estate planning firm can help you create a plan that best addresses your specific needs and ensures that you'll be prepared no matter what the future holds.. Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at to schedule an appointment.