Millennials – it’s time to talk to your parents about dying

The Covid-19 pandemic has concentrated people’s minds on mortality like never before. People in the Millennial age group (those born roughly between 1981 and 1996) find themselves facing a reality they might not have considered seriously before—planning for their parents’ future and ensuring their parents have put everything in place.

Now, like no other time in history, is the best point to tackle those awkward conversations. Do your parents have a Will? What do they want to happen to their estate when they pass on? What about a living Will? And who would they want to give power of attorney to if they were to find themselves incapacitated in the future?

It is much more difficult to face these issues if a parent or guardian dies suddenly, or an accident or illness changes everything, which is why it is much better to have those conversations now. Here are our tips on how you can make talking about Wills and estates with your parents as easy as possible…

Invite everyone to take part

Invite your siblings to take part. That way, the conversation is open and transparent, and everyone knows what your parents/guardian wants. It might be an idea to prepare the questions you want to/should ask in advance.

It is crucial that you listen to your parents’ wishes without judgment. The goal is to understand what they want, rather than convince them to do what you think should be done.

Remember, this is likely to be an ongoing conversation. Your parents may change their wishes in the years to come. And when one parent or guardian passes away, the other person might change their mind about how they handle their own end of life decisions or what they want done with their assets.

Follow up actions

It will help if you can follow up on actions. Check with your parents if they met with a solicitor to discuss their Will and what they want to do about power of attorney if they have not already done so. You might want to remind them to see a financial advisor to discuss maximising savings for retirement or future care costs.

You will need to know where your parents or guardians have stored their Wills and any other relevant legal documents. Their solicitor will hold a copy, but there should also be one in the house. Talk to your parents about their online accounts too—subscriptions, online bank accounts, social media, etc. Most of us are signed up to far more online accounts than the people close to us realise or know about, so it is good for there to be a record of these should someone die suddenly.

Discussing what happens should a parent’s circumstances change or that person dies isn’t morbid or greedy. It allows for peace of mind, and it’s reassuring to know that you will be doing what your parent wants when the time comes.

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