As a child, you are likely accustomed to your parents protecting and shielding you from difficult situations. Unfortunately as you age, however, there will come a time when your parents are no longer here and it is important to plan ahead for that time as a family unit. One important step in accomplishing this is to discuss estate planning with your aging parents. To help you begin this difficult conversation, we want to share with you a few estate planning tips for your aging parents.
The first step is to discuss the needs of your aging parents and provide them with an opportunity to discuss their goals and concerns. Talking about finances, illnesses, and even death can be emotionally taxing. Ensure your aging parents that this conversation is in everyone’s best interest and is simply to ensure that all the necessary people are on the same page. It is important to approach this topic with sensitivity and to allow your parents time to express concerns, voice their opinions, and ask questions.
Second, it is important to discuss any pre-existing estate planning documents or long-term care plans your parents may already have. We encourage you to ask your parents whether they have created a will or trust, health care documents, or a durable power of attorney. If they have not created any of these documents yet, you may wish to make a plan as a family as to how you will proceed with creating the documents and the types of planning documents you need. Further, it is crucial that you ask your parents what their own wishes are for their long-term care planning. What are their goals? How can you help your parents accomplish those goals? Addressing these questions now will likely make it easier in the event of illness or incapacity.
Above all, encourage your parents to discuss their specific goals and needs with an experienced estate planning attorney who is familiar with the laws in their state. There are many different estate planning options available, some of which may fit your parent’s needs better than others. An estate planning attorney can present appropriate planning options, answer your parent’s questions, and propose strategies to help create your aging parents’ legacy.
We know this can be a particularly challenging conversation to have with your aging parents. Being proactive in creating an estate plan, however, is one of the most effective ways at providing both you and your aging parents with peace of mind. If you or your parents are ready to discuss your parent’s estate planning needs, do not wait to contact our office to set up an appointment.