Three Easy Tips for Discussing Estate Planning with Parents

At Modlin Legal, we know that it’s difficult enough to deal with your own Estate Planning. None of us want to confront our own mortality, but worse still is thinking about the potential loss of a loved one.

Nevertheless, ignoring the inevitable does not keep it at bay. Some simple preparation can ease an incredibly difficult time and give everyone involved some priceless peace-of-mind. To that end, here are some useful tips for talking about Estate Planning with your parents:

1. Be Brave

Talking about difficult issues is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. It’s easy to fall into the trap of guilt and feeling like a monster or circling vulture, but all you’re really doing is making sure your family is prepared. This is the responsible thing to do, but it may not be easy. Be strong.

2. Bring Questions, Not Answers

It is important to prepare, but not over-prepare. You should know the questions to ask, but not be so forward as to have all of the answers planned out already.

  • Do your parents already have a plan? They’ve likely given this thought already as well, so find out what’s in place now.
  • Is it up-to-date? Laws change every year, not to mention personal and family situations. An outdated plan can be just as bad as no plan at all.
  • Do they know the consequences of not planning? It’s easy to assume that the law will provide adequate distribution of your assets upon your death, without having to specifically plan. But without a proper plan, your family will have to go through an arduous and expensive probate proceeding. Whatever the court decides according to one-size-fits-all law can be very different from what your parent would really have wanted.

3. Know the Next Steps

Once everyone is on the same page, you are far better equipped to deal with any potential issues. If everything is taken care of and ship-shape, then your mind can be at ease. If there are issues, or if you collectively still have questions, sitting down with a qualified Estate Planning attorney is a much better bet than a Google or a Yahoo.


"I recently worked with Marina on preparing our family trust and had a great experience. She was incredibly helpful in thinking through our particular situation and providing a point of view on key considerations. In my experience working with other lawyers, you sometimes only get the pros and cons of a situation but no actual advice nor direction, that’s not the case with Marina.

Marina was also great in following up afterwards to make sure we implemented our trust and tracked major updates. I’ve also had a few follow up questions that she has promptly answered for us as well. Overall, she’s one of the best lawyers I’ve worked with on any legal matter."
Paul K