We can’t underestimate the impact of willpower. You’ve probably waited patiently for years, maybe even decades, for your mom to get their estate in order. But now that they are retired and enjoying their golden years, they stubbornly refuse to do any estate planning. What happens now? What can you do?

Well, an Estate Planning Attorney in Franklin TN can assist you. But let’s first examine what happens when your parent refuses to create an estate plan.

The Hard Truth

Estate planning is important for everyone, especially if you have children. When a parent dies without a will or trust in place, the distribution of their assets can be very complicated and contentious. 

For starters, the court will appoint a guardian for minor children. Similarly, it will also divide the assets among the heirs according to state law – which may not be what your parent would have wanted.

Your parent may not want to plan her estate for multiple reasons. For instance, they may not think they have enough assets to warrant it, or they may not want to consider their mortality. But that doesn’t change the facts.

What You Can Do

If your mom holds her ground and refuses to create a legacy plan, you’ll need a smart approach to the situation. To this end, you can do the following:

  • Have a conversation about why she doesn’t want to plan her estate. Try to be understanding and respectful – after all, this is your parent we’re talking about. Once you’re conversant with the reason behind her refusal, you can tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Get professional help. If you’re still struggling to get through to your mom, consider enlisting the help of a professional, such as an estate planning attorney. They can talk to her about the importance of creating an estate plan and field the questions she may have on the subject. Many times, such an expert can be the deciding factor in getting a reluctant parent to create an estate plan. Provided the professional handles the conversation correctly, your mom should see the relevance of an estate plan and why she needs to take action. You could even rope in your mum’s financial advisor if she has one. They probably value their opinion and might be more receptive to what they have to say.
  • Take care of her. In the meantime, help your mom get her affairs in order. This includes helping her create a durable power of attorney and a living will to ensure her wishes are carried out in the event she becomes incapacitated. And by being named as a beneficiary on her retirement accounts and life insurance policy, you can ensure to honor her final wishes – even if she doesn’t have a legacy plan in place.
  • Bring up the subject gradually. Talk about legacy planning in passing rather than hitting her with it out of the blue. This approach can help her get used to the idea, and she might even start thinking about it.
  • Involve your siblings. If you have brothers or sisters, try to get them on board with convincing your mom to plan her estate. The more people she hears it from, the more likely she is to come around – especially if her favorite child is leading the charge.
  • Use “what if” scenarios. Sometimes, it helps to get your parent to think about what could happen if they don’t have an estate plan. For instance, you can ask them what would happen to their assets if they were to pass away unexpectedly. This line of thinking could make them change their mind.

What You Shouldn’t Do

While the approaches above can work to convince your mom to get her affairs in order, it would help to avoid some things. These include:

  • Threatening or coercing her – Has anyone ever tried to force you into doing something? It probably left a bad taste in your mouth, no? Well, your mom is human too. Therefore, trying to strong-arm her into taking action will only backfire and make her more resistant to the idea.
  • Bribery – Don’t be fooled. Your mum can see through any thinly-veiled attempt to bribe her (by offering an incentive) into legacy planning. Not only is this dishonest, but it can also damage your relationship. The same goes for using guilt as a persuasion – it rarely works.

Sure, creating an estate plan may not be at the top of your mom’s to-do list, but it’s important for her. However, it’s never easy to convince a resistant parent to change their mind. But, if you handle the situation with tact and patience, you can get her to see things your way. While at it, avoid using underhanded tactics.

By Manali