by Jacqui Brauman


In this blog post, we tackle a challenging topic that often tends to be avoided: how to approach a conversation with family members about death and their final wishes. It’s not an easy task and is frequently met with discomfort, particularly with worries of appearing greedy or impatient for an inheritance.

The “sandwich generation,” caught between aging parents and young adult children, may find this conversation doubly difficult. Both sides present their unique challenges – the grim prospect of losing parents, and convincing young adults to take the topic of their own mortality seriously. It’s an uncomfortable thought, yet evading it only complicates matters more. Deepening grief is tangled with greater uncertainty and difficult decisions when we are unsure of our loved one’s desires in their final stages.


How to Break the Ice

The first hurdle is always initiating the conversation. One possible approach is to use an external resource, like this blog post or a relevant video, as an opener. Another approach could be your personal experience of updating your will or handling your estate planning affairs. Sharing this with your parents or young adult children not only stresses the importance of having theirs in order but also opens the door for power of attorney discussions and the crucial role it plays during an unfortunate turn of events.


Accuracy is Crucial

Reminding your older parents about the changes in laws and life scenarios is crucial if their estate planning hasn’t been updated for a long time. Discuss how their superannuation or pensions are generally not covered in wills. For young adults, you could stress the importance of additional beneficiaries in their will, considering their employment status and work benefits.


Medical Wishes

Analyze current events like celebrity deaths, diagnoses, or instances of severe mental decline like dementia to kickstart a discussion on medical wishes. This conversation could touch upon various subjects including resuscitation methods, surgical decisions, palliative care, and psychological treatments, among others. Making such decisions allows the family to honor the wishes of their beloved in their absence instead of being crippled by uncertainty.


Pacing the Conversation

An important note to remember is to provide ample time and peace for such heavy discussions. Start with modest, manageable conversations and gradually branch out to more detailed discussions. If the conversation becomes uncomfortable, slow down. Revisit the topic when it feels right, but avoid completely letting go of it when it gets tough.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to have these sensitive discussions and specific plans in place. Doing so will ensure your family finds the tranquility they deserve amid the challenging times of loss. Don’t let distress cloud comprehensive decisions that can be made right now.


TBA Law is here to help. We specialise in Estate Planning, Family Law, and Property matters, and our team is ready to guide you towards securing the best future for your family.
Contact our team at or call us at 1300 043 103 to book an appointment.

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