Estate planning can be difficult, especially if you’re new to the United States and don’t speak the language. That’s why it’s important to find an attorney who speaks your language and understands English, too, so that you can fully understand the laws that impact your estate plans and the decisions that you’re making.

If you’re a child who speaks English but have a parent who does not, it’s a good idea to come with them when they see their attorney. You’ll want to talk to your aging parent about estate planning and their advance care plans ahead of time, so that you can prepare to have a discussion and support their choices.

Making a will is essential, but not all Americans do it

You probably know that a will is important, but did you realize that only around 42% of Americans have one? Not setting up a will or planning for care in advance is bad news though, because it can cause extreme financial and emotional strain on those around an aging adult. If they pass away, it’s their families that have to pick up the pieces and cope with their death as well as handling their estate.

Why talk about advanced care plans and estate planning early?

If your parent is getting older and hasn’t yet created an estate plan, now is the time to bring it up. Starting the process now helps reduce the risk of disputes after your parent’s death and reduces the overall strain on the family if they pass away or can no longer take care of themselves.

Additionally, advanced planning helps your loved one state their wishes and make them known to those who will care for them in old age or work with the estate after they pass away.

Though it may be difficult, it’s important to talk to your parents about their end-of-life wishes and to discuss what they’d like to see happen with their end-of-life care, funeral and assets. They are alive now, so it’s worth discussing what they’d like to see happen and to make sure those wishes are carried out by developing a strong will and estate plan.

Since your parent does not speak English fluently, it’s smart to work with an attorney who is fully bilingual and who can help them understand the gravity of the situation. That way, you can all have an open, honest conversation with the right education.