Finances can be a touchy topic no matter the conversation—from salary discussions to planning for marriage or talking about debt, many people feel uncomfortable. It can be even more difficult when individuals are getting older and the financial topic is estate planning. Adult children of aging parents may wish to make sure their parents can manage their assets effectively. When a family business is concerned, the need to involve everyone impacted in the estate planning discussion can be even greater. Below are three things to consider when trying to start an estate planning conversation.
1. People resist change.
People generally resist change, but this can manifest in different ways. Considering which way your parent or aging loved one may be resistant to change—whether they fail to see a problem altogether or disagree with you as to the solution—can help you formulate the right questions to ask. For any level of resistance, involving a business succession or estate planning attorney can help pinpoint the best questions to ask and the right information needed to move the process forward.
2. Determine how assets are currently structured.
The current structure of your parent or loved ones’ assets can guide the next steps. For example, if your family member owns a business, they may already have a succession plan in place. But other issues may still be in play. For example, they may self-manage and own all assets themselves, which might require some separation in the future. Or they may have plans for their business, but not their own retirement or personal asset management—or the other way around. Asking questions to figure out the current state of affairs can guide your loved ones toward thinking about practical considerations. Sometimes some positioning is needed before transitioning to the next stage of estate planning.