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Your Parent’s Estate Planning

The Wall Street Journal has an article titled How to Talk to Your Parents About Money. (Requires subscription).

This raises an issue I think about frequently. If your parents have a modest size estate – say at least a home – it really benefits you more than it benefits them for them to do their living trust estate planning.

When they die, they are gone, done with the responsibilities of this world. They don’t have to clean up the mess. You do.

If your parents have a large estate, they probably have the means, and hopefully the incentive to hire an attorney to do their estate planning. But if your parents are like most middle class parents, and they haven’t done their estate planning, maybe you should take the initiative and help them do it. Don’t get greedy and use undue influence to have them leave everything to you instead of equally among your siblings – that will get you in trouble.

If your parents don’t want to pay for it, maybe you (and your siblings) pay for it. After all, you and your siblings, not your parents, will be the ones stuck with the costs and hassles of post death administration, which could involve the high costs and delays of probate. It’s way easier and way less costly to plan now rather than after death.

And really, it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated for them to set up their living trust.


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