How to Start Conversations with Your Aging Parents

There are several aspects of estate planning in Maryland that are less than fun, and that means that a lot of people choose to put the process off indefinitely.  There’s the need to gather a lot of documentation together, pay for an estate planning attorney, and not insignificantly, to contemplate one’s own death.  Adult children often find themselves up against these obstacles when trying to encourage their parents to get their affairs in order now, rather than continuing to procrastinate. But, how do you get that conversation started?  Here in Montgomery County or Prince George’s County Maryland, we offer some suggested conversation starters that can help break the ice.

Estate Planning Conversation Starter #1 – Find an example of a family where the parent(s) unexpectedly died or became incapacitated without having put together the appropriate documents.  Describe how much the probate process ended up costing, how difficult it was for the adult children to make choices that should have been up to the parent, etc.  You can find tons of examples online and then find a way to work one into the conversation.  Try something like, “I was watching CNN the other day” or “I was reading XYZ web site, and I saw this crazy story.”  Stories work well because they are memorable and not just hypothetical situations.

Estate Planning Conversation Starter #2 – Let your parents know that if they want to have a say in what happens to their estate, it’s up to them to get things lined up with an estate planning attorney now.  Many times, just recognizing the fact that “the government” will be stepping in to settle their affairs can be enough to spur a parent to action.  After a lifetime of hard work, it’s unlikely they want some faceless bureaucrat making decisions about their money, right?

Estate Planning Conversation Starter #3 – Do your own estate planning and then share what you’ve learned.  By working with your own estate planning attorney in Maryland, you are bound to become even more convinced of your parents’ need to do theirs, plus you will have first-hand knowledge of what the process looks like and can help take some of the fear and mystery out of it for them.  Just knowing that they can come to someone they trust for support can be very helpful in making the mental leap necessary to get the ball rolling.

By using any of these three conversation starters, you can help increase the chances that your aging parent will at least start moving in the right direction.  Estate planning  is something that many people want to put off, but to continue to do so is gambling with their own, and their heirs’ future.


Kinsey Law Group, P.C. was formed to focus on the needs of families.  If you have questions or concerns, you’re invited to call 301-968-1630 or send an e-mail anytime, without cost or obligation.

Get a copy of our free guide “WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOUR FAMILY: 5 Easy Ways to Make Sure Your Children, Wishes and Assets Stay Protected Should Something Happen to You”

We offer many of our Assisted Reproduction/Surrogacy and Estate Planning services virtually (legal services online) to save you time and to make obtaining legal help more convenient for you.

Locations: Montgomery County (Bethesda, Maryland); Prince George’s County (Upper Marlboro, Maryland).

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