How Can I Help My Parents Write a Will?

It’s unfortunately quite common to hear stories about tragedies that only get worse. It’s always sad when a loved one passes away. Even distant family members can leave us feeling distraught when their time comes. When somebody passes away without a will, they can leave their loved ones in trouble. Tense situations arise, especially in large families, over who gets what assets. Close families can suffer lasting damage over end-of-life disputes. Naturally, you can expect your loved ones would like to avoid these sad situations. That is why it is important to bring up the issue of writing a Will.

These are hard conversations. How do you talk to your parents about writing a will? More than half of the property owners in America pass away without writing a will. People who die without a will leave behind a property in a vague ownership state. A lengthy, expensive, and potentially painful probate process can begin. The process of settling the account is complicated immensely.

Speaking of hard conversations, what if your parent is incapacitated without a living will? It is another case of complications and problems. Nobody knows or has the authority to execute any wishes on behalf of the incapacitated.

You want to avoid these tragedies. So how do you start talking about a will? These four steps will help you.

1) Talk to Your Siblings

Gather your siblings together to talk about your concerns. Do this before going to your parents, and understand that you are all in this together. Getting across that this is for everyone’s benefit and listening to their feelings are important. Family meetings are useful here.

2) Learn What You Can

One of the best ways to start talking about a will is to know what you’re talking about. Call attorneys, figure out the prices and learn everything you can. Ask yourself questions they may have so that you can answer them for your parent. One helpful step can be to plan your own estate – Once you’ve been there, you can help them through the process. It’s never too early to start!

3) Be Open to their Reluctance to Write a Will

Pick your moment on a day without stress, and explain why you want to talk about writing a will. Be clear that you’re not doing this out of personal gain. It’s not about you. Instead, you want your parent to understand that this is about honoring their wishes. It’s also about keeping the family together.

4) Empathize

Part of what makes this so hard is it forces your parent to confront their death. It’s also a conversation about finances, and those are never easy. However, sensitivity goes a long way, and if your parent is hesitant or seems uncomfortable, put the conversation on hold. It can wait a couple of weeks or months. It can be a gradual topic, but one that should open up eventually.

At Dowd Law Firm, we’ve been helping families plan their estates for years. We know it can be tricky, and even with these steps, it can take a while. Whatever you do, don’t lose your patience and don’t give up. Whether you’re ready to write and finalize your parent’s will or just getting started, we can help.