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Should you talk with your parents about their estate plans?

For adult children, asking about a parent’s estate plan may be a taboo that they feel they should not approach. After all, asking about what one’s part is in a will, or what is being left to them may make an adult child seem petty, opportunistic or downright greedy; none of which are particularly endearing to an aging parent.

However, broaching the topic of an estate plan can be of significant benefit to a parent with a large estate. Talking about goals and methods could allow beneficiaries to save a great deal of money in estate tax savings. After all, a federal estate tax return must be filed with estates that are worth more than $5.34 million. Perhaps it may be worth it to a parent to learn more about how their legacy may be passed on to others without it being encumbered by taxes. 

Additionally, some parents may have a strong emotional connection to a charitable organization, and it may be that it is worth it to them to leave a legacy to such an entity. Educating a parent on what tools are available to them is essentially the opposite of a child who simply wants to know if they will be taken care of.

Suffice it to say, talking about a parent’s estate plan does has its risks, but it really depends on one’s intentions and their prior relationship with a parent. If the child has been helpful, responsible and self-sufficient for most of their adult life, the conversation should be easier than you may think. 

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