Insights & advice

How to help your parents with estate planning and making a will

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You play an important role in protecting your parents' legacy

Do you remember when your parents sat you down for the talk?

Back then, it likely included some awkward moments and uncomfortable feelings.

It could be time for another talk, but this time you’d be starting a conversation your parents may have been avoiding – about how they want their final wishes carried out.

It’s time to have the talk

Here are a few suggestions when it comes to talking about their legacy:

  1. Take advantage of the time you have. You’re on the right track by helping your parents think about this today instead of reacting in the moment. Taking the time now helps your parents put the right plans in place to protect what matters most to them.
  2. Get organized and make sure your parents’ wishes are carried out. Help your parents understand the value of getting organized early on so their wishes are understood and carried out according to plan.
  3. Ensure they choose someone as their power of attorney. Encourage your parents to select their power of attorney sooner rather than later. A lot of important decisions may end up in this person’s hands, and the more time they have to understand your parents’ wishes, the better.

Things to consider

Figuring out your parents’ wishes can take time. When you’re having the talk, it’s important to remember how you can work with an advisor to help protect their estate. Some things to think about when making a plan are how to help:

  • Protect your parents’ investments from market downturns.
  • Avoid unnecessary legal, estate administration fees.
  • Ensure their money goes directly to the people and/or cause(s) they chose.

Work with an advisor to include an Estate Protection policy on their financial security plan. It combines potential growth with protection for the beneficiaries of the policy to help make sure the estate is secured.

What should we talk about?

Start with the basics and learn about:

  • Your parents’ sources of income
  • Any mortgage balance outstanding and types of insurance they have
  • Their medical history
  • The name of and contact information for their advisor (if they don’t have one, ask about how they’ve been making financial decisions)
  • Whether they have a documented will, living will and power of attorney
  • How they would like their money shared (i.e., to family, friends, charity or a combination of these)

While you’re helping your parents make a plan, encourage them to provide their banking information to their power of attorney.

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