Why don’t you try? : Find out how to talk about wills with your loved one
Even though bringing up the topic of death with elderly relatives is something most of us would deeply like to avoid, it’s an important conversation to have.
Knowing if your family members have life insurance, a last will and testament, plans or funds for long-term care, as well as topics surrounding a living will are great ones to regularly bring up, so everyone is on the same page well before anything happens.
That said, because these topics aren’t easy to discuss, they’re often left unaddressed, leaving relatives confused, scrambling, and potentially arguing after your loved one is gone. Here are some of the best ways to seize the moment and talk with your parents about their estate.
Choose the Right Setting
This conversation should happen privately, when everyone can focus, not, for example, at a celebratory Mother’s Day lunch.
One good way to segway into the conversation is to mention your own plans. Saying something like, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future, and I wanted you to know I’ve bought life insurance so I’m covered is a good way to then ask them what their coverage may be.
Another way to bring up the topic is to mention reading an article (like this one) on the topic or mention a friend who had difficulty assessing their family member’s needs because the topic had never come up.
A book can also help clear the air. For example, in the new book *The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning*, author Margareta Magnusson discusses the Swedish custom of decluttering your home as if you were going to die. Touching on pop culture can add some levity to the conversation while also making it clear it’s something that’s important to discuss.
Let Them Lead the Conversation
This shouldn’t feel like an inquisition, so let them lead the conversation and tell you what they may have done or may not have covered yet.
Say that you hate these questions, but it’s something you worry about, and you want to make sure you know their wishes. It’s also important not to ask why they haven’t done anything, if that’s the case.
Just let them explain what they have done, and offer help where needed.
Make It a Family Conversation
The conversation shouldn’t be a one-and-done conversation, it should evolve over time.
Making a point to check in as a family (including far-flung siblings) every six months or every year can ensure everyone’s on the same page, any updates on the status of notarized legal forms can be discussed, and anyone can feel free to voice uncomfortable questions.
Here’s a tip for you to try this week :
Speak to your loved one and your support network about how you are feeling this week, If there is something you find particularly difficult try and find someone else to manage that area of care.,
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