Are you dreading having the much-need conversation with your parents regarding their end-of-life wishes? You are not alone. This is a painful and difficult conversation for many people.
What you may not realize is that many older adults want to be asked about their final wishes. They may also like assistance with finding resources on how to create a will or trust. They may also need help finding online resources on how to pre-plan for their funerals.
Here are some tips on how to talk to parents about end-of-life wishes. We will give you ideas on how to broach these complicated conversation topics and provide you with a list of questions to ask your parents before they die.
1. Get help from your siblings.
Ask your siblings for help with this discussion about your parent’s final wishes. Even if they want to bury their heads in the sand on the subject of your parent’s mortality, remind them that you will all be responsible for planning for a funeral someday. It’s better to approach this process with your parent’s preferences than guessing what those wishes were after your parent’s death.
Talk with your siblings about the best approach for starting this conversation with your parents. Do you all agree that the best course of action is to set up a formal family meeting? Or do you know that your parents would respond better to a discussion that seemed more “off the cuff” and casual?
The personalities and knowledge of your parents and siblings may determine the best course of action for broaching the topic.
Some people are reluctant to disclose what they may feel is their private financial or health information, even with their children. If you find that your parent(s) are resistant to having this conversation about their final wishes, use these talking points to encourage them to share.
- “We want to be able to fulfill your final wishes. We can’t do it if we don’t know what they are.”
“We don’t want to have to pay lawyers to sort through the details of your estate.”
“We’re worried that making these decisions after you die will cause arguments among the family members.”
“Making your own end-of-life plans is one of the best gifts you can give to us.”
2. Ask all of the hard questions and take notes.
Here is some of the information you need to gather to help your parents complete their end-of-life plans. Start by obtaining general information