Talking about end-of-life plans with your elderly parents may feel uncomfortable at first. However, doing so can bring clarity and prevent potential misunderstandings.
Approaching the topic of wills respectfully is important to ensure they feel understood.
Set the tone
Initiating a conversation about wills requires sensitivity and careful consideration of your parents’ emotions. Begin by choosing a quiet and comfortable setting, free from distractions.
Express your concern for their well-being and emphasize the importance of people knowing and respecting their wishes. A calm and empathetic approach lays the foundation for a productive discussion.
Start with open-ended questions
Begin the conversation with open-ended questions that encourage your parents to share their thoughts and feelings. For instance, you might ask, “Have you ever thought about what you would like to happen with your belongings in the future?” This allows your parents to express their concerns and desires without feeling pressured.
Share personal experiences
Sharing relevant stories or examples from friends or acquaintances can help ease the tension and make the conversation more relatable. You could mention how a colleague had a positive experience discussing wills with their parents. This emphasizes the peace of mind it brought to everyone involved.
Highlight the benefits of clarity
Talk about the benefits of having a plan in place that can make their values, sentiments and intentions clear to others. Explain how having a will can prevent potential family disputes and provide a sense of security for everyone involved.
Address potential concerns
Make sure to acknowledge any concerns your parents may have about discussing their wills. Reassure them that the purpose is to understand their wishes. Be patient and attentive, listening actively to their worries and addressing each one with empathy.
Offer assistance in the process
If your parents express uncertainty about where to start, offer your support in gathering information or seeking professional guidance if needed. Assure them that the goal is to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
With 55.7 million people who are 65 and older in America as of 2020, this kind of discussion is likely becoming more common as time goes on. Addressing concerns ensures that your parents feel supported as they navigate this important aspect of their future.