Can you remember a time when your parents sat you down and said something along the lines of, “We need to talk,” or, “The time has come for us to have a little talk”. It was usually said with a serious tone, and they seemed uncomfortable with breaking the news that they were about to impart. These “talks” were likely a little strange, or perhaps flat-out awkward. Despite the melodramatic tone, it was meant sincerely to help you through a change in your life. It was an intervention of sorts.
Perhaps it’s time for you to sit Mom down for the “talk.” This Mother’s Day, you can express your love for Mom by opening a discussion about the benefits of getting her affairs in order. It is a conversation that needs to be had, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be awkward. Because let's face it– estate planning and thinking about death can be emotional and difficult to talk about. Maybe your Mom or other family members are avoiding the topic. For many, despite the certainty of death, it’s the “unspeakable” subject we wish we didn’t have to think about.
Push Through the Discomfort
In spite of the discomfort, it is necessary to address Mom’s end-of-life planning and her final wishes. The sooner, the better. You'll want to initiate the discussion with your mother if she hasn’t yet brought it up. Allowing Mom’s assets to fall at the mercy of the Probate Court or other statutory entities is not ideal. Become a proactive partner now before it becomes too late to do so– it will make that inevitable dark time much less stressful, for you and the rest of your family.
Waiting too long to create an Estate Plan can be a costly mistake. Reactive moves and making hasty decisions during one of the saddest times of your life can be very stressful. Many family members come to regret not having stepped up and stepped in to assist Mom when they had the chance. And you never know, Mom may surprise you. She may have wanted to bring up estate planning, or drafting a Will but didn’t want to distress you, or herself.
In short, starting a conversation with your mom regarding how she wants her final wishes to be carried out, how she wants her assets distributed, how she wants her Estate managed and by whom, are the types of questions you will want to bring up for discussion. Having this talk with Mom is the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do, and it's the loving thing to do. So push through the awkwardness and anxiety and talk about it with Mom.
Tips on How to Have the Conversation
As a supportive and loving family member, you can play a very important role in protecting your mother's legacy. By setting the wheels of estate planning in motion for Mom, you may be giving her a very wonderful gift: peace of mind and relief in knowing all future plans are in order. This Mother’s Day, perhaps following brunch or other festivities, might be just the perfect time for you to sit Mom down for “The Talk.” Talk about your fondest memories and talk about estate planning. Certainly, one size doesn’t fit all because all Moms are unique in many ways, but some generalizations may help smooth the way. Take advantage of the time you still have by maintaining a positive attitude. Be kind and be patient. Set up a plan and trust the process. For more in-depth resources on starting the conversation, check out our guide here.
Beginning this planning now can provide the nice feeling for Mom that comes with knowing her important affairs are in order. Mom will feel content in knowing the right plans are in place to protect her assets for those she loves. You can explain how being organized will help ensure that Mom’s wishes are carried just as she would want them. Underscore for her that this is her plan, and listen carefully to her special concerns and wishes. Perhaps make notes to share with other close family members or siblings.
It's important to tread lightly when it comes to discussing Estate Plans. Frightening Mom isn’t in the Mother’s Day spirit, so avoid listing information about the perils of Probate or how tax costs and delays can significantly reduce the value of the funds before they ever reach her Beneficiaries. Bullying, shaming, or expressing frustration will only suck the love right out of your gift and make the situation more complicated.
Moms deserve respect and transparency in the process of their estate planning. Depending on the complexity of the assets, you must determine what help she will need. Be aware that Estate laws can vary from state to state. Trust & Will, a leading online estate planning service, provides state-specific estate planning legal documents to make the process less confusing. Mom will feel content in knowing the right plans are in place to protect assets for those she loves.
Get the Help You Need
What better way to show your appreciation for your dear mother than to offer your assistance with setting up her Estate Plan. Helping her think it through and taking the time to bring rock-solid estate planning advice, while making sure she understands the pros and cons of each document, is a thoughtful and loving gesture Mom will appreciate. She’ll be certain that the assets she proudly accumulated throughout her lifetime of devotion and caring for her family are passed on in the smartest way and in a way she approves. Getting trusted help from online estate planning experts like Trust & Will can help guide you through the process.
Mother's Day is a special opportunity to do something way beyond cards, flowers, and chocolates. Estate planning is a gift that empowers Mom to preside over her own Estate Plan. This Mother’s Day is a chance to be there for her in a very loving and practical manner. It may be a chance to break the silence that often surrounds estate planning and get the planning out in the open so your Mom can lean on you to pull all the elements of the plan together.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help you keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific Estate Plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options. Get started today!