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How to discuss the topic of a will with a parent

A last will and testament can do a lot to make the inheritance process easier, but it is not a guarantee since some wills are still contested in a New York court. Sometimes beneficiaries feel that have been slighted in the will, either because they did not receive what they thought they deserved or they were excluded from the will completely. If you feel you should discuss the matter of a will with a parent, there are certain things to keep in mind.

According to Money Crashers, it is sound advice to talk to siblings about a will first. You want to do this because if you speak to your parent or parents alone, you might appear to be trying to get something for yourself at the exclusion of your siblings. Including brothers or sisters in the process can help build trust or at least decrease the risk of familial disharmony. You can also gain the perspective of your siblings. They may possess insight on how your parents feel about the subject that you do not possess.

Once you have brought your siblings on board, you can approach your mother, father, or both if necessary. When doing so, be upfront about why you want to discuss the matter. Point out that with a written will, a parent can control where assets go and not leave it up to a New York judge. Also, if your parent lays out his or her wishes, you and your siblings will know what to expect and can better accept the judgment of the parent.

Do not expect your parent to immediately want to talk about this topic. In fact, it will be quite natural if your father or mother brushes the matter off and wants to turn to another subject. Discussing mortality is not easy for most people. If your parent refrains from engaging in the topic, bring it up later, though you do not have to do so right away. Talk about it again in a few weeks or a month. Gradually introducing the topic again can help make your parent more comfortable about talking about it.

Also keep in mind that families are going to vary wildly, so sometimes you have to adjust your approach depending on the dynamics of your family. For example, you and your siblings may live in different parts of New York or even in different states, so communications among family members may be difficult. An article on the AARP website recommends that long-distance families use conferencing programs like Skype to communicate jointly about a will, or at least talk via a conference telephone call.

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