Ask Your Relatives About Their Estate Plan

How do I bring up the topic of estate planning with my family members?

It can be awkward to broach the topic of estate planning with your family. After all, none of us wish to discuss the death of our parents, grandparents, or siblings.  However, with fewer than half of all Americans having an estate plan, according to the most recent Gallup polls, not raising the topic could leave your loved one in a less than desirable position should they become incapacitated or pass away.  Our Orange County, California estate planning lawyers discuss how you can bring up estate planning with your loved ones and what topics to ask below.

Tackling the Estate Planning Conversation

It may never seem like the perfect time to bring up the project of estate planning, but the important step is to take the leap.  Carefully choose when and where you will initiate the conversation. You will want to broach the topic of estate planning when you and your loved one have plenty of time and a quiet area.  You should only include siblings if you feel all of you can discuss open and freely. Start the conversation by explaining why you want to have this talk, which is to make sure your loved one is protected no matter what the future holds.

Questions to Ask

Once you have decided to tackle the conversation about estate planning, you will want to determine what questions you should ask your loved one.  You will generally want to start by asking about your loved one’s estate planning documents at this current moment. Find out whether your loved one already has a will, power of attorney, trust, or health care proxy in place. Hopefully your relative confirms that yes, he or she has taken the steps to make a thorough estate plan that will offer protection in the event of incapacity of death.  You may learn, however, that your loved one does not yet have an estate plan. If so, you will want to encourage that they do so.
Next, you should find out where your relative’s estate planning documents, if they exist, are located. Without this information, your loved one’s estate plan could be lost and the probate process delayed.  You will also want to ask about your loved one’s last wishes concerning their burial and remains. These preferences may not be found in an estate plan, but you will surely want to honor them. For more help making an estate plan or guiding your loved one through the estate planning process, contact an estate planning attorney.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.