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How to talk about estate planning with your parents

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How to talk about estate planning with your parents

Talking about Wills with your parents is an individual’s choice. Most families avoid these types of discussions as they can be uncomfortable, but by asking these questions, families can be better prepared when a family member passes and have a better understanding of what their wishes are after they are gone.

As well as setting out how they want their assets to be distributed to family members knowing what is in your parent’s Wills, can also assist you in other ways. This includes knowing who your parents want to be the Executor of their Estates  – the Executor is the person who will be in charge of administering the deceased Estate and this includes paying debts and distributing the proceeds of the Estate to the beneficiaries named in the Will.

A Will can also set out funeral requirements, so it can address the increasing common issue of whether a person wishes to be buried or cremated.

Having an understanding of your parents Will can also assist you in making sure that their final wishes are not subject to a Will Challenge, as your family will understand what is in your parents Will, as well as providing you all with the opportunity to talk to your parents about why they have chosen to distribute their assets in the way that is set out in their Wills.

As long as you are having this discussion with your parents, it’s also a good time to discuss with them what they want to happen in the event that they are unwell such as suffering from dementia. An Enduring Power of Attorney and guardianship documents can assist in ensuring that your parents wishes in relation to their finances and care, are understood by the family and captured by these documents. This avoids the all to common situation where children are left trying to guess what their parents would have wanted in the event that they are unable to make their own decisions anymore.

Graeme Heckenberg is an expert Wills & Estates lawyer and will be able to guide and advise you on making talking to your family about their Wills and wishes in the event they are unable to make their own decisions anymore.  If you are living on the Northern Beaches and surrounding Peninsula and need expert advice call The Northern Beaches Lawyer today on 9221 0341 or email

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