Far too many Americans put off estate planning. In fact, only 40 percent of adults have a will or other estate plans, reports AARP. Oldest seniors have the highest rate (81 percent), and baby boomers come next, though only at 58 percent. This means there are still those entering or settling into their later years without any plans for their passing.
Some people do not know where to start or how to get help. Others are in denial that such planning is necessary. They may believe their estate is too small or their health is just fine. However, the reality is that an accident or disease can happen at any time. Waiting until such a time causes further stress and complications. If your parents have not created their estate plans yet, here is how to help them.
Broaching the subject
Bring up the topic in a comfortable setting, such as in your parents' home when nothing else is going on. Warn them beforehand that you want to discuss something important to avoid them becoming defensive. Ask if they have completed any estate plans, such as a healthcare power of attorney, or at least discussed with each other their end-of-life wishes.
Getting to the root
Find out what is preventing your parents from being proactive about their future. Is it fear, lack of knowledge or something else? Getting to the root of the problem can help you figure out what to say and do to help them change their minds. For example, revealing how estate plans empower them, benefit their family and protect their assets may prove effective.
Making a plan
Avoid overwhelming your parents with a long to-do list. Start with the most important documents for their situation. Take it one step at a time to make it easy, and follow up with your parents to check that they finished the task. Help them find the resources and professional guidance needed to succeed.