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Asking parents if they have a will

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2023 | Estate Planning

Every year, thousands of estates are processed in Georgia as residents pass away. In some cases, there’s no will or formalized planning for the disposition of the estate, which can lead to all kinds of messiness and complication.

As a child of parents or a parent who may be getting up there in age or who may be dealing with health problems, it behooves you make sure your parent’s estate planning is up to date and in order. But it can be difficult to initiate that kind of conversation.

Broaching the subject of a will with parents

In effect, discussing your own will is equivalent to discussing your own mortality, and that’s never an easy thing to do. And for some, the prospect can be terrifying, especially if they feel like the end of their life is approaching. With that in mind, there are a few tips that can make the discussion go slightly easier:

  • Be proactive. A conversation is likely to go worse if you’re discussing this for the first time with an ill or infirm parent.
  • Be respectful and empathetic. This discussion should be centered on the life and wishes of your parent first and foremost.
  • Don’t make demands, ask for input. You can make suggestions or give options, but your parent should feel like the ultimate decision maker.
  • If you bring it up and they seem unwilling to discuss it, drop it for now. It might not be a good time, and you can try again later.

Wills are crucial in many family situations

If a parent has relatively few assets and only one surviving child or direct heir, a will might not be necessary. But in many other circumstances, a will is vital to avoid confusion and prevent an unjust estate settlement and the potential for grave harm to a family’s unity.

So, while it may not be easy to ask your parent or parents about whether they have a will, it’s an important conversation to have. And in most cases, your parent will probably feel better knowing their wishes will be respected and their legacy will be intact.