When an Elderly Parent When They Refuse to Write a Will

It is beneficial to create a will in order to preserve your final wishes and ensure your beneficiaries receive the assets you assign them. However, some choose to forego a will, which may be difficult for their family members to understand. In many ways, a will or trust can be useful for family members of the deceased so that they do not have to sort through the remaining assets and that may ease the stress on an already grieving group. There are reasons to pass on without a will, and if that is the wish of your loved one, then you may have difficulty in changing their mind.

Why Might You Avoid a Will?

There are some reasons it may be beneficial to not write a will, the most common ones are:

  • Dire financial situation
  • Unable to complete the will before passing on.
  • Procrastination
  • Deciding they do not have any assets worth including in a will or trust.
  • Unable to come to terms with their demise.

It is difficult to ensure that assets are divided as the deceased would like, partially because there are no instructions indicating what they prefer. The estate will almost surely pass through probate court and it will take a long time to distribute the assets at all. It can be challenging to convince your parent to write a will if they have already stated they do not wish to.

Three Steps to Start Off With

When you begin to work on a will with your parent, begin with a few small steps to promote them moving forward with it. The three steps you can start with are:

  1. Naming a Powers of Attorney for financial matters.
  2. You may include this designation in a living will if you wish, most people choose a close family member for this role.
  3. Have the designated Powers of Attorney look over the assets and financial status of the parent. It will be helpful to have this information to allow for proper representation of the parent later.

Consult an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are having difficulties talking with your parent about writing a will, consider a consultation with an estate planning attorney such as the estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ locals trust so they can speak with your parent about the benefits and importance of leaving instructions for your loved ones. If they decide to move forward, your parent can begin the stages of estate planning with the attorney to ensure their wishes are honored. The likelihood of a contested will, a painful probate process, and overall confusion can be minimized with the advice of an experienced attorney.


Thanks to authors at Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into Estate Planning.